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Psychological ownership -- strong emotional ties and a shared sense of mission and purpose that cause workers to identify closely with their business -- can give companies a competitive advantage, if they understand the roots of such feelings and how to develop them. To see how this phenomenon affects the performance of family businesses, the authors conducted a qualitative study of various family-owned firms of different sizes, stages and sectors. They focused on the factors that either fostered or undermined the development of a healthy, fulfilling relationship between next-generation members and the family business. Their results suggest that factors such as shared experiences, involvement in governance bodies, a structured and planned entry into the business, a sense of empowerment and opportunities for participation all support the development of a balanced sense of ownership within the organization and contribute toward sustainable business performance. This article lists the practical things that companies can do to sow the seeds of psychological ownership, so that you eventually reap responsibility, passion, initiative and creativity -- qualities that will boost productivity and performance.

Tools and Frameworks:
> "A Model of Psychological Ownership" lists the factors that enable positive bonds to form and those that lead to frustration.
> "A Bond That Grows Stronger Over Time" describes the phases during which psychological ownership will develop naturally if you create the right conditions.

Examples Cited:
Japanese hotel and spa Houshi Ryokan, Wendel family, Cargill family, testimonials from the members of various family-owned firms

Research Basis:
Qualitative interviews with members of various family-owned firms of different sizes, stages and sectors, to probe whether psychological ownership was experienced as something positive or negative.

About the Authors:
Josep Tàpies holds the Chair of Family-Owned Business at IESE and he teaches at various business schools across Europe and Latin America.

Lucía Ceja is a researcher for the Chair of Family-Owned Business and the Department of Managing People in Organizations at IESE.
This article is based on:  Tips to Foster Ownership in Your Organization
Publisher:  Estudios y Ediciones IESE
Year:  2013
Language:  English