FAMILY BUSINESS-OWNING COUPLES:
AN EFT VIEW INTO THEIR UNIQUE
Sharon M. Danes
Erin A. Morgan
This study expands the understanding of business-re-
lated tensions within business-owning couples through an interdisci-
plinary literature review, through a longitudinal data analysis, and
through application of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) to a case
study. Business-owning husbands and wives in this study reported
that conflicts related to work/family life balance and unfair distribu-
tion of resources (money, time, energy) between family and business
systems create the greatest tensions. Low family functionality, wives’
role dissatisfaction, transfer of resources from family to business, and
husbands’ identification of wives as major decision makers were all
predictors of wives’ higher tension levels. Husbands reported
increased tension when wives worked more hours in the business.
Three elements of EFT are applied to a family business couple.
family businesses; business-owning couples; Emotionally Focused
Therapy (EFT); family business conflict; couple conflict.
Sharon M. Danes, PhD, is a professor and Erin A. Morgan, MS, LAMFT, is a
research assistant in the Family Social Science Department, University of Minnesota.
Send any communications to the first author at University of Minnesota, Department of
Family Social Science, 290 McNeal Hall, St. Paul, MN 55108 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
This paper reports results from the Cooperative Regional Research Project, NE-167
‘‘Family Business Viability in Economically Vulnerable Communities,’’ partially sup-
ported by the Cooperative States Research, Education, and Extension Service
(CSREES); U.S. Department of Agriculture; the experiment stations at the University of
Arkansas, University of Hawaii at Manoa, University of Illinois, Purdue Univer-
sity (Indiana), Iowa State University, University of Minnesota, Montana State
University, University of Nebraska, Cornell University (New York), North Dakota State
University, The Ohio State University, University of Rhode Island, Utah State Uni-
versity, University of Vermont, University of Wisconsin, and the Social Sciences and
Humanities Research Council of Canada (for the University of Manitoba).
Contemporary Family Therapy 26(3), September 2004
2004 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.