Get access

An Exploratory Comparison of the Behavioral Dynamics of Top Management Teams in Family and Nonfamily New Ventures: Cohesion, Conflict, Potency, and Consensus


  • An earlier version of this manuscript was presented at “The 3rd Conference on Theories of the Family Enterprise: Search for a Paradigm,” December 2003, University of Calgary.

Michael D. Ensley at and to Allison W. Pearson at


While some researchers propose that the combination of family and business creates a need for trade-offs in family and business demands, we argue that the social system of the family creates a synergy in the top management team (TMT) that is not present in TMTs with less “familiness.” We argue that the unique dynamics created by the social aspects of the family-owned firm will result in higher cohesion, potency, task conflict, and shared strategic consensus than those TMTs with less “familiness.” Discriminant analysis of three groups of TMTs (parental, familial, and nonfamily) was conducted on a sample of 224 TMTs of new ventures to explore our propositions.