Background Note | HBS Case Collection | August 2007

Assessing and Enhancing Individual Power in the Family Business System

by John A. Davis


Describes how to asses and enhance an individual's bases, sources, and levels of power in a family business system. Relies on Franch and Raven's framework that identifies five bases of social power (reward, coercive, legitimate, referent, and expert), describing how these bases change depending on the circumstances of a relationship. Also describes how an individual's roles, resources, and relationships in and out of a family business system provide the sources of these bases of power. Discusses the connection between power and dependency in a relationship. Finally, discusses how to enhance individual power in a relationship.

Keywords: Family Business; Family and Family Relationships; Situation or Environment; Power and Influence;


Davis, John A. "Assessing and Enhancing Individual Power in the Family Business System." Harvard Business School Background Note 808-026, August 2007.