Jia Yuan Company: Brothers Vying for Control of a Family Business
(7 pages of text)
Jia Yuan Company was a small Chinese business founded by two brothers in 2005. The more ambitious of the brothers worked at the front of the business, successfully transforming it from a local sales agent for foreign branded products to a contractor for government-financed construction projects. He saw new opportunities for the business and wanted to make further investment in a related company that his friend worked at. However, the conservative brother, in charge of internal management, was not convinced of the project’s potential and did not approve of making drastic changes to their company’s overall strategy. The brothers had a history of disagreement and suppressing resolution of the problems. Can the brothers manage their conflict, or should they go their separate ways?
This case is suitable for advanced undergraduate, graduate and executive participants to discuss family business topics, especially the power issues of a start-up family business. Participants can be small business entrepreneurs that have started companies with other family members. Before the class, students should already be familiar with the Thomas–Kilmann modes. After working through the case and assignment questions, students will have the opportunity to do the following:
- Understand how family relationships can interfere with the decision-making process in a typical start-up family business.
- Identify some advantages and disadvantages of a family business.
- Suggest how the protagonist can build his transformational leadership among family members.
China, Small, 2018
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