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European family’s businesses hanging between future and uncertainties

Family businesses are by far the most common form of organization around the world existing in different sizes, sectors, and locations. While the growing research interest over the last two decades has provided empirical evidences on the unique characteristics of these businesses, family-owned and managed firms have progressively gained legitimacy and a proper recognition among policy makers and practitioners. The European Commission’s project “Overview of family-business-relevant issues: research, networks, policy measures and recent studies”, launched in 2007 and the European family business barometer are only one of the most illuminating examples. The latter, now in its 8ht edition, consists of a yearly-basis survey carried by European Family Businesses (EFB) and KPMG Enterprise from a sample of family business in 27 countries across Europe (https://assets.kpmg/content/dam/kpmg/xx/pdf/2019/11/european-family-business-barometer.pdf). The survey is geared towards examining the most critical issues that European’s family business face. The results of 2019 reveal as the majority family firms surveyed, despite the contextual uncertainty, are confident about their business outlook while fostering innovation and developing their human capital are their first priority. Conversely, regulatory changes represent the main concerns of European family firms. Finally, respondents claimed to being deeply involved in the succession planning, a critical juncture for any family firms. Business outlook appears to be rather darker for Italian family businesses due to the political instability and uncertainty related to legislation changes – mainly the fiscal ones – affecting negatively their business prospects. Once again, the long-lasting Italian issues are found to undermine the confidence of our firms and the family ones are no exception.


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Nicola Lattanzi