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HIGHLY COMMENDED CASE - Family Business Runner-up, 2012 European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) Case Writing Competition. Scholtes Waterservices was a second-generation family firm in the Netherlands that specialized in installing and selling water pipes, primarily for the horticultural industry. In 2008, Rijk Scholtes Jr. and his brother, Ben, took over management of the firm from their father and gradually assumed ownership through a buyout plan. It soon became evident that their father, Rijk Sr., could not let go of the company. This especially affected Rijk Jr., as he worked in an office close to the place where Rijk Sr. lived. As a result, the relationship between father and son began to steadily deteriorate. Moreover, Rijk Jr. began to feel isolated as the relationship and collaboration between Rijk Sr. and Ben was not adversely affected. Instead, the once-strong relationship between the brothers began to deteriorate. Rijk Jr. was left wondering whether anything could be done to rectify the situation or whether it was time to leave the family firm.
This case can be used in family business, entrepreneurship, strategic management, or leadership courses. While primarily a succession and governance case, it may also be positioned in course sections dealing with communications, leadership, and the role of advisors.
- To understand the far-reaching consequences of a poorly organized succession transfer.
- To recognize the importance of good governance structure and clear definitions of roles and responsibilities.
- To understand the complexity that is brought about in a business by family emotions.
- To learn about the role of an advisor.
- To learn about the role of family members external to the firm.
- To recognize the importance of communication in family firms.
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
Netherlands, Medium, 2011
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