Sustaining the Family Business



Release Date

March 24, 2014


Howard Lin introduces his research synthesis on family owned, controlled, influenced, or involved businesses in Canada. In exploring skills and skills development, Lin discovered that there is a lack of incentive for smaller family businesses to upgrade professional skills. His research suggests that a culturally sensitive approach, interaction and collaboration between sectors can help to improve skills.

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Howard Lin
Ryerson University

Howard Lin: This research is about the family business, family controlled, family influenced, family involved. Family business in Canada is very important, accounts for about 45 per cent of GDP, 50 per cent workforce. We got very successful, large family business like Bombardier, McCain, but our funding suggest a large number, a big portion of this family business sector is private, smaller and they often suffer from deficiency performance capability, especially professional skill.

However, the funding suggests that many these smaller family businesses they don’t feel the need to upgrade their professional skills. That’s the problem. There’s no incentive, [no] aspiration to get these skills [that are] normally, easily accessible in the marketplace. For example, they can send their second generation to the business school or just the hiring [of a] professional manager from the marketplace.

The message is also important for the training facilities, training programs at a university. A lot of times the task is to train the trainer because many of the professors don’t have appreciation or the understanding of the family dynamics in the family business.