Case study of murphys suit in cork Essay Example
Case study of murphys suit in cork Essay Example

Case study of murphys suit in cork Essay Example

Available Only on StudyHippo
  • Pages: 13 (3395 words)
  • Published: August 12, 2017
  • Type: Essay
View Entire Sample
Text preview

Tom Murphy's household concern, located in Cork, deals with various issues including the struggle within a household concern. This issue is explored through a Literature Review, a Case Study, Applying Theory to Practice, and Recommendations for Research.

The definition of a household concern is provided along with an explanation of the concepts of sequence and struggle. Conflict is seen as inevitable in any business and while not desirable, it can bring about positive change and growth.

The review focuses on three specific aspects: a lack of communication, sibling competition, and changes in the business's culture. The information was gathered from books and selected journal articles.

A case study was conducted on Tom Murphy's Formal and Menswear which involved observations of the business and interviews with Michael Murphy and Tom Murphy Jr., both currently working in the third-generation


family business. A brief history of the business is also provided.

In this interesting country, I searched for connections between my research and case study to identify key issues and their links. However, I acknowledged that there may be a gap between theory and its application. My aim was to provide recommendations for further research in the field of family businesses, particularly highlighting the lack of research done on different sizes of family businesses.In my research on Tom Murphy's Menswear, a family business located on Patrick Street in Cork city, I have suggested the need for further research to differentiate the roles of the family and the business, taking into account changes in family structure. Additionally, I have provided recommendations for a successful succession plan. In conclusion, I have emphasized that conflict is inevitable in any business but unresolved conflict in family

View entire sample
Join StudyHippo to see entire essay

businesses can lead to a high mortality rate among these companies. Therefore, it is crucial for family businesses to understand the role of conflict and its potential for positive change.

To provide some context, Tom Murphy's Menswear is our chosen subject within the broader topic of sequence. As someone who has experience working in my own family business, I find this topic particularly interesting. My focus will be on examining the key aspects of struggle within family businesses such as Tom Murphy's – its causes and potential solutions – drawing from existing literature. The structure of my research will consist of four sections: 1) Literature Review 2) Case Study 3) Applying Theory to Practice 4) Recommendations for Research and Family Businesses.

Before delving deeper into these sections, let me briefly define what constitutes a family business: it involves one or more households with significant ownership and commitment towards its overall well-being.Family businesses may have non-family members as owners or managers. However, household members can often hold senior positions and be actively involved in the operations of the concern. This concept of a household concern is widely accepted, although there is no universally agreed definition. In his work, Lansburg (1998) defines succession as the careful preparations made to ensure harmony within the family and continuity of the business across generations.

In my research on conflict, I will focus on literature that addresses conflict management, conflict resolution, and the causes of conflict. Conflict management is described by Beckhard and Dyer (1983) as particularly critical and poorly understood within a family business context. In my literature review section, I aim to understand the key aspects of conflict and its implications

for the business, as evident in the case study provided.

This issue is important to consider for a family business as having an understanding of the various forms of conflict that can arise is crucial for success and continued growth while maintaining a strong family foundation. Conflict is an unavoidable aspect of any business and often is not detrimental. Few individuals in business enjoy conflict but it is necessary for a company to have the motivation to change and grow.

However, some argue that failure to properly manage conflict in family businesses can contribute to their high mortality rate.In terms of the literature review, different academic fields have varying perspectives on understanding conflicts. Economists focus on game theory and decision-making, psychologists examine interpersonal conflicts, sociologists study class conflicts, and political scientists center their attention on intra-national and international conflicts. Therefore, comprehensively reviewing the conflict literature in the context of family business is nearly impossible. However, this review aims to discuss key issues related to conflict by highlighting what has already been said.

Conflict is an inevitable aspect of any business and can often lead to positive outcomes. According to Tillett (2001), understanding conflict involves deep human needs and values. Sometimes, conflicts are expressed through surface-level problems or differences that actually reflect a deeper conflict. If the underlying conflict is not addressed, these problems or differences will persist or new ones may arise.

Conflict plays a significant role in family businesses and has gained attention due to highly publicized family differences that have destroyed families and businesses. While many family businesses find ways to manage conflict, little is known about how it's managed or the impact of conflict management strategies

on both the business and the family.

Through my research, I observed that despite recurring problems, the business appeared to be successfully managed and was striving forward.Managing conflict is essential for the success of a family business, according to various authors. However, conflict management in a family business requires an understanding of the unique nature of conflict as these businesses are concerned with both business and family outcomes. Resolving conflict within a family business presents its own set of challenges. Initially, I conducted research through family business books and internet-sourced journal articles which proved to be a difficult process. Despite available literature, the main issues associated with a household concern are still the struggle among family members and ineffective communication. This lack of communication leads to problems within the concern as well as within the family itself. Unsolved or recurring conflicts undermine trust and communication within the family, making it hard for members to share ideas, discuss issues, or make decisions efficiently. The literature clearly shows that without effective communication in a household concern, various conflicts can arise both at home and in the business sphere, potentially leading to failure if not properly managed. The key difference between successful businesses and those that fail often lies in their ability to navigate complex relationships among family members. Directors in privately held and family-owned businesses understand that struggle has significant financial implicationsMaintaining a focus on mutually defined goals is crucial for overcoming external competition in business. The benefits of becoming certified in managing workplace conflict extend to both individuals and their companies. Effective communication plays a vital role in achieving success, especially in family businesses that are passed

down through generations.

Managing conflict within a business can have positive effects, as supported by previous literature. Research suggests that addressing conflicts promotes problem-solving, the development of strategic plans, and the establishment of a family constitution - all valuable components for family businesses. It is worth noting that news stories often highlight aggressive acts occurring within families, indicating the presence of differences among family members.

However, when conflicts arise within the business context, it adversely impacts both the company itself and individual family members. Levinson (1971) identifies four key sources of familial conflict in household businesses: the founder's attachment to his creation, competition between father and son, sibling rivalry among brothers, and intra-family clashes. This issue holds significant interest in my research on conflict within household businesses because it addresses common concerns encountered across generations - recognized widely as major sources of conflict.

For instance, when a son assumes control over the business from his father according to Levinson (1971), challenges may arise as the founder struggles to let go of what he views as his "baby," "mistress," or even his symbol of social power and personal identity.In my research, I have also focused on the impact of collaboration and management by multiple generations in a business, which can lead to potential conflict as it requires the senior generation to adapt their roles. Throughout my study, I have discovered that competition indicators in family businesses play a significant role in conflict, unlike non-family businesses where this type of conflict does not arise. Family businesses often face unique conflicts that are absent in non-family businesses such as sibling rivalry, children wanting to establish their own identity apart from their

parents, marital issues, and disputes over ownership among family members (Schulze 2001). These conflicts, especially those related to succession matters, are crucial within the literature I have examined. They illustrate how competition manifests itself in family businesses and how these conflicts must be addressed due to the close overlap between work and personal lives. Moreover, within this competitive environment, the relationship between fathers and sons highlights how conflict arises when a successful succession plan is implemented. It demonstrates how both parties hold differing perspectives on the business at different stages and how this divergence leads to conflict. As senior stakeholders age, they tend to become more risk-averse while their personal motivations and financial goals change.The focus of individuals planning for retirement shifts towards financial security, while the replacement generation prioritizes career advancement and future wealth in business. A well-defined succession plan is crucial for the success of a family business due to high competition between family and non-family businesses. Conflict can arise from rapid change, but it also brings opportunities that may result in disagreement. The fear of conflict often leads families to resist change and avoid any form of disagreement. Research indicates a connection between successful succession processes and cultural changes within a family business during transitions between generations. This cultural change frequently sparks competition among family members, both within and outside the family. Literature shows that succession leads to a shift in business culture accompanied by conflict. According to Justin Gooderl Longenecker, Carlos W. Moore, J. William Petty, Leslie E. Palich (2003), despite modernization in certain aspects of businesses, it remains important not to replace essential cultural values such as unity, honesty, and

hard work. The most noticeable aspects of culture are its artifacts and creations including the physical environment, technology, language, and behavior exhibited by group membersWhen studying culture and its impact on conflicts, it becomes evident that resistance to change is a recurring theme when one generation succeeds another. Struggles within family businesses can have severe consequences, leading to destructive behaviors and hindering effective planning and decision-making for both the business and the family (Levinson, 1971). Beckhard and Dyer (1983) emphasize the significant role conflict plays in family businesses and how it can ultimately affect both the business and the family, contributing to the high mortality rate of family-owned companies. In fact, approximately 66% of family-owned businesses do not survive beyond the second generation, with only 10 to 15% lasting into the third generation (Applegate 1994). Due to the various unique causes and contributing factors to conflicts in family businesses, as well as their belief that conflict plays a significant role in their failure, practitioners in this field would benefit from effective conflict management techniques.

Case Study: Tom Murphy's is a formal menswear shop located on Patrick St. in Cork City within the retail industry. What sets this family-run business apart is its successful transition through two generations, currently entering its third generation with Tom Jr. and Eoin managing the business in 2010.This achievement is noteworthy as less than 15% of family businesses reach this stage.The store has become a familiar sight for Corkonians, similar to the city's grand landmarks. Its longevity is evident as generations of families have shopped there. Over its 136-year history, despite renovations, the menswear store has maintained its original appearance, representing a

compact and professional presence amidst the bustling 21st-century street.

Michael Murphy, son of Tom who established the business in 1938, remains in charge today although Tom Jr. and Eoin believe they have more control now. Tom Jr. and Eoin are two out of seven children born to Michael and Mary who showed interest and fully committed to the business.

A secure future awaits a third generation with the likelihood of several more following suit. Even Tom Jr., hopes his nine-year-old son will pursue higher education and gain work experience outside of the store but eventually join him if he shows an interest in the business.

The family takes immense pride in the store's legacy. The same day Tom got engaged to Annie Walsh - his future wife - he purchased the store's rent. At around 30 years old at that time, Tom had completed an apprenticeship at Heagarty's on Castle Street where he worked as a draper's assistant, preparing him to sell menswear.

Tom and Annie married in 1939 and went on to have five children - Nuala, Jerry, Michael, Tom, and Anne - all of whom worked at the store after school or on weekends while growing up.The three sisters are fiercely protective of Michael and firmly believe that the store's success is largely attributed to him. Tom Jr., Eoin, and I agree that it's time for our father to step aside, as he remains attached to the shop and wants us to continue running it. However, Michael believes that change is necessary and is contemplating either selling online or opening a new store. Our father hasn't fully accepted this idea and thinks we should focus on taking

care of the current store.

When Tom fell ill, Michael took over at just 14 years old, becoming as much of a character in the store as his father. He has an exceptional memory for the shop's history and shares countless anecdotes with his dry sense of humor. Despite not intending to take over initially, Michael embraced the challenge without hesitation.

After our father passed away in 1970, Tom Jr. mentioned that we still lack a concrete plan but should start considering one now. The current situation involves a potential struggle between two brothers and our father. Addressing this issue promptly could prevent any future problems from arising due to the absence of a formal plan.

In 1961, Michael assumed full control and began selling ready-made cheesecloth shirts and mohair suits instead of custom-made ones. He later ventured into dress hire business in the 1960s while also profiting from selling school uniforms in the late 1960sIn the 1970s, we focused on selling Levis and Wrangler jeans. However, in the late 1980s, we transitioned to suits, jackets, and pants. Our dress hire business thrived in the mid-1990s. Currently, there is a disagreement over stock between Tom Jr., his brother, and their father. They prefer newer materials while their father prefers older ones. This issue arises when ordering new stock as Tom Jr. believes the older generation is not accustomed to brands as they were more focused on generic products.

Tom Crowley, a non-family employee who has been working at the store for 29 years, witnessed the growth of the two brothers since they were children helping out at the store. However, this has led to some difficulties between Tom Crowley

and Tom Jr. Eoin used to order them around when they were helping out but now roles have reversed and Tom Crowley is in charge. It must be difficult for their father to adjust to their new positions as expressed by Tom Jr., stating "he must be thinking who the hell do they think they are."

Additionally, just like their father finds it difficult to deal with anything new, a new software system was recently installed in-store to track inventory. At first, their father didn't understand what it was and was unsure about it saying "he finds change very hard." Despite potential conflicts with their father,Tom Murphy's will continue to be a staple for menswear clothing on Patrick Street for generations to comeThe question that remains is whether the issues between the two sons and their father will result in unresolved conflict if the father refuses to step aside, even though it is their time to take over the business. As Tom Jr. stated towards the end of our interview, "working with your father can be a nightmare." In order to apply theory into practice, I will analyze literature on succession-related conflicts and determine if these theories are being implemented in my case study of Tom Murphy's Formal and Menswear. This analysis entails identifying any connections or gaps that have emerged from my research. My research primarily focused on three main topics: communication, sibling competition, and cultural shifts within family dynamics. With regards to my case study, I will first discuss the connections that I discovered between my research and this specific instance. Conflict is often seen as inevitable yet not always negative in family

businesses. During my interview with Tom Murphy Jr., we agreed that breakdowns in communication can lead to conflicts concerning stock allocation. In the case study, it was mentioned by Tom that family members had ordered stock without informing others, where he preferred younger styles while his father preferred older ones. Lack of communication in product orders used to cause conflicts as well according to Tom's account.The literature on family business owners emphasizes that conflicts among family members and poor communication between them are significant issues. Effective communication is necessary to resolve these conflicts, as demonstrated in my case study where Tom Murphy's employees hold weekly meetings to address all problems. Another struggle I examined was sibling competition, including father-son, brother-brother, and non-family-family competition. This is a common issue when the younger generation takes over from the older generation within a household. The literature supports this notion and relates to my case study where tension exists between both generations and long-term employee Tom Crowley. Working with one's father poses challenges highlighted in the literature as one generation transitions to the next, which aligns with my case study where Eoin and I feel our father is declining while we pursue online sales and new store openings. The literature suggests that the older generation seeks security while the newer generation seeks change and growth. Based on the reviewed literature, there is a clear connection between these struggles in family businesses.In conclusion, the literature and my case study both highlight the cultural changes between generations in a family business. The main point emphasized is that different generations have varying methods and preferences for running a business, which can lead

to conflicts. This is evident in my case study as Tom Jr. mentioned his father's struggle with change. The three issues I focused on are directly linked to my case study.

However, there are gaps between the literature and its practical application in family businesses. Since research on successful multi-generational family businesses and their conflict resolution strategies is limited, it was challenging to find relevant literature. It was not necessary to examine conflict resolution strategies of first-generation businesses.

Nevertheless, as more research is conducted in this area, interesting findings are expected to emerge. Therefore, based on my research and case study, I propose further studying the differences between small and large family businesses. While books like "Understanding a Little Household Concern" by Denise E. Fletcher address this topic partially, additional research is needed to cover the various sizes of household businesses effectively.This research aims to enhance the understanding of household business owners. In addition, further investigation should be conducted on dividing functions between the business and the family as comprehending these distinct roles would greatly benefit the business. Lastly, I would like to propose recommendations for reducing conflict related to succession in a family business. It is crucial to address conflicts promptly and plan for future succession by funding a retirement plan for the founder, creating succession plans for siblings, improving communication, and holding regular family meetings to discuss both family and business matters. Conflict is unavoidable in any business; however, unresolved conflict in a family business can lead to a high failure rate if management fails to address clashes that arise from working closely with family members. Practitioners and other non-family members like non-executive managers can

provide valuable assistance in dealing with the challenges faced by household businesses including ensuring short-term stability and long-term succession. Research indicates that while conflict is inevitable in any business, it does not always have negative consequences but can instead initiate positive changes across different aspects of the company.Incorporating effective succession planning is crucial for businesses to effectively manage conflict and address its underlying issues.

Get an explanation on any task
Get unstuck with the help of our AI assistant in seconds