No wonder so few family businesses make it to the third generation. A recent survey of 1,002 family-business owners revealed that the potential for conflict increases significantly as family businesses age.

The hottest issues of contention for first-, second-, and third-generation businesses were as follows:

First generation Second generation Third generation
Long-term vision 19% 27% 40%
Management roles 21% 27% 36%
Money 22% 22% 34%
Ownership or control 10% 19% 27%

Source: Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. telephone survey, Springfield, Mass., 1994.

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