Owner-managers in private companies have significant discretion. After all, they combine the prerogatives of both ownership and leadership. They can make decisions that make sense in a broader perspective that might not be as clear from the viewpoint of one who is only a manager or an owner. 例如, an owner-manager may take more time off than is allowed other executives in recognition of all the weekends worked in the past and the endless thought given the business–even while on vacation.

But when ownership shifts to the second generation the issues become more complex. Consider the following dialogue between a second generation daughter who is CEO of the business and her brother who is also an owner but not employed in the business.

Yes, I did take my son to a hockey game using the firm’s season tickets.对不起,但我讨厌那样. Those tickets belong to the business and are for business purposes.
我很惊讶你会不高兴,我很惊讶你居然知道. 看, I’ve worked incredible hours and rarely get time with my kids…I missed my son’s last two parent-teacher conferences because of business trips.我很欣赏,, but I was told to not call our MIS department to use our corporate discount to buy a PC for myself…nor to interrupt them to get some advise on what to buy. 有人告诉我要尊重事业和家庭之间的界限.

Owner-managers often blur the lines between management and ownership because they are so immersed in both. They easily develop an “ends justify the means” attitude–knowing that in the big picture they are doing all they can for the business, 和它的主人. As businesses begin to include family members as owners who are not employed by the company, 模糊的界线会造成误解和混淆信息. In all such issues, good advice is “Will what I do stand the ‘light of day’?或者,换一种说法,“如果我哥哥发现了怎么办?? 如果国税局发现了怎么办?”

这个问题也是一个先例. Is the action of the owner-manager one that would also be offered to other executives? Is the request of an inactive owner one that you’d offer to all other owners?

这些问题都很困难. Owners feel a personal attachment to the business and often expect some benefits from their faithful shareholding. Owner-managers usually sacrifice personally more than any other executive, in part because of their sense of responsibility to all the owners. The best guidance is to study each issue as a matter of precedent as if everyone knew what happened . . . and to discuss the complexities at a family meeting so no one is surprised.