Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 185–206 | Cite as

Boundaries and the Functioning of Family and Business Systems

  • Zanita ZodyEmail author
  • Douglas Sprenkle
  • Shelley MacDermid
  • Holly Schrank


The purposes of the present study were to: (1) examine connections between performance success and the boundaries between families and the businesses they own and (2) explore whether boundary-performance links were mediated by satisfaction. Tests of the mediation hypothesis revealed that family satisfaction partially mediated connections between boundaries and family functioning. Business satisfaction fully mediated connections between boundary characteristics and business strengths, but did not mediate the relationship between boundary characteristics and cash flow problems. Although previous literature suggests that permeable boundaries (i.e. enmeshment) are especially problematic for family firms, this appears to be only partially true.


boundaries disengagement enmeshment family business spillover 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zanita Zody
    • 1
    Email author
  • Douglas Sprenkle
    • 1
  • Shelley MacDermid
    • 1
  • Holly Schrank
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Child Development and Family StudiesPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  2. 2.Department of Consumer Sciences & RetailingPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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