All in the family business

Family-owned businesses have long played an outsize role in the global economy. Analysis by senior partner Acha Leke and coauthors finds that family-owned businesses account for more than 70 percent of global GDP and about 60 percent of global employment. The structures and practices used by these businesses, such as focusing on purpose beyond profits, may help them to exhibit stronger performance during downturns than some of their nonfamily-owned peers.

Family-owned businesses have survived and thrived over decades because they are adaptable and resilient.

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A line graph shows 2 lines representing the average economic spread between family-owned businesses (FOBs) and nonfamily-owned businesses from 2000 to 2022. The 2 lines track each other through various economic crises, with family-owned businesses between 0.5 to 1.0 percentage points ahead overall.

Footnote: The performance of 600 publicly listed FOBs was analyzed and compared with that of 600 publicly listed companies that are not family owned. Another 600 primarily private FOBs around the world were also surveyed.

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To read the report, see “The secrets of outperforming family-owned businesses: How they create value—and how you can become one,” November 28, 2023.