Abstract: Poor Thomas Buddenbrook! Family Business in Literature

Fermín Allende

Abstract

According to the so-called Buddenbrooks syndrome, substantial differences can arise in managing and running a family business across generations. The first generation of proprietors supposedly possesses the pioneering character, striving for money and creating a successful business. The second generation, it is alleged, exerts itself in strengthening the firm and increasing its recognition and social prestige. The third generation sometimes lacks dedication to the management of the family business, preferring leisure and non-productive activities. In fact, German Nobel Prize-winner Thomas Mann's novel Buddenbrooks itself shows that this usual understanding of the Buddenbrooks syndrome is incorrect. Fiction provides an excellent way to analyze family business. It is possible to establish a classification of different models based on significant features of family firms in literature, as I attempt to do in this essay.

BEH On-Line Paper