Special Exhibition | 11.07.2016 – 29.01.2017

Family Businesses as a Phenomenon Insights – Overviews

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Almost 90% of all businesses are family-run. Yet while the family-operated business is commonplace, it seems to hold great fascination. How else to explain the continuing success of Deutsche Dynastien, a German TV series devoted to German dynasties that often features entrepreneurial families and their companies? But there’s more than just the obvious interest in history and destiny. The complex phenomenon of the family-run business is also an object of research for political and business economists, historians, as well as for psychologists and sociologists. This is because the distinctive feature of the family-run business is the inseparable union of two systems that function according to completely different rules: the family, as private domain, where emotion dominates; and the company, subject to the laws of the market. Those who run family businesses thus make decisions in the context of interdependent and conflicting priorities that bring with them opportunities and freedoms while also harbouring pitfalls and clashes. Reconciling a respect for tradition and a capacity for innovation is, in any case, part of the day-to-day routine at almost all of these companies. This exhibition approaches the subject from the perspective of business figures and their families. Letters, diaries, wills, and business protocols afford insights into the specific motives behind their actions. The goals, desires, and obligations of the stakeholders come to life and take on a surprising relevance, as do the action patterns and interdependencies, values, and decision-making processes that have persisted over time and across generations. The following firms, from a wide variety of sectors, join C&A in the exhibition as representative examples of internationally-operating large and medium-sized enterprises: Bagel (printing and publishing), Brügelmann (spinning), Falke (spinning and knitwear), Harkort (trade and metalworking), Hohner (musical instruments), De Kuyper (spirits and liqueurs), Roeckl (gloves and accessories), Steiff (toys), Stollwerck (confectionery), Ullstein (printing and publishing), Von der Heydt (banking), Warburg (banking). A two-volume publication will appear in conjunction with the exhibition. The first volume examines this new way of looking at the phenomenon of the family-run company, one based on actual business figures from the 18th to the 20th centuries. The second volume provides an in-depth overview of the subject from the perspective of scholars from a variety of disciplines.

Protokoll aus der Nachlassakte Roeckl | © Staatsarchiv München

Visitor's Comments

Es war hochinteressant, in die Geschichte von Familienunternehmen einzutauchen (...) Eine tolle Ausstellung – lieben Dank. Herzlichen Dank für die freundliche und vor allem professionelle Führung! Die Ausstellung hat uns sehr beeindruckt. Ein faszinierender Blick hinter Familien- und Unternehmenskulissen – eine sehr gelungene Ausstellung! Überraschende und sehr informative Einblicke in traditionelle Unternehmen vor moderner Kulisse. Wat een interessante tentoonstelling heeft u hier gecreëert. Ein wunderbares Haus, ein gutes, interessantes Thema.

Press Comments

Eine bemerkenswerte Ausstellung Bernd Bexte, in: Westfalen-Blatt, 8. Juli 2016 Hinter jedem Ausstellungsstück steckt eine Anekdote. Oft ist sie zum Schmunzeln, manchmal sogar besonders rührend. Mirko Heuping, in: Westfälische Nachrichten, 16. Juli 2016 Die Schau erzählt mitten aus dem prallen Leben Dr. Gisbert Strotdrees, in: Wochenblatt für Landwirtschaft und Landleben, 29/2016 Eine Sonderausstellung zu einem schillernden Thema Mario Schwegmann, in: Premium & Style, Sommer 2016 Spannend und hochaktuell ist diese Ausstellung Klaudia Sluka, in: Westfalenspiegel, 12/2016

John von Düffel: 'Vom Wasser'

On 13 November John von Düffel read from his first novel, 'Vom Wasser'. The book tells the moving story of a paper factory dynasty over five generations. Film: www.ivz-aktuell.de, 14 October 2016, authors: Stefan Nieland, Brigitte Striehn

Marie-Luise Marjan: 'Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family'

On 25 September Marie-Luise Marjan read from Mann’s debut work. Following Buddenbrooks, the actor and book author established a connection to her own family history. Film: Quelle: www.ivz-aktuell.de, 26 September 2016, authors: André Elshoff, Brigitte Striehn

Award Ceremony School Competition

The Draiflessen Collection asked the schools in Mettingen to explore the family theme and participate in an idea competition. The award ceremony took place on 17 January.

Children's Guide

Exhibition Catalogues | © Draiflessen Collection, Mettingen, Foto/Photo: Henning Rogge