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Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Program Introduces New Course, “Family Business and Conflict”

Columbia’s M.S in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Program (NECR) is responding to growing industry needs by introducing a new elective, “Family Business and Conflict.” The course was developed and will be taught by two practitioners (and program alumni!), Karen LaRose (’14SPS) and Kathy Goodman (’14SPS).

Family businesses comprise 80-90 percent of the total business enterprises in North America, according to the U.S. Bureau of Census. However, by the third and fourth generation, only 4% of family businesses remain under family control of the founding family. LaRose and Goodman, both seasoned professionals who specialize in–among other areas–family business, realized the need to focus on and prepare students to work in these specific environments. 

LaRose and Goodman explain, “In Family Business and Conflict, our aim is to give students an understanding about what we can learn to keep family businesses together. We explore the advantages and similarity between family businesses and other businesses; we study the business system and the family system as interlinking and inseparable; we apply conflict analysis tools as a first step in determining the best intervention strategies; and we extend the NECR program’s essential path of self-awareness and we look at the role that trust and communication play in creating healthy family businesses.”

The course will focus on diving deep into existing case studies and real-world examples of family businesses who face business disputes. On top of reviewing the cases using theoretical frameworks of negotiation, conflict resolution, and family businesses, the course will also utilize tools to develop intervention strategies in small and large group settings.

The elective course is available for registration starting this Fall 2022 and is open to all current NECR degree candidates and Columbia University School of Professional Studies students, subject to eligibility and space availability.

Learn more about M.S. in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution and the course “Family Business and Conflict: How to Navigate the Nexus Between Family Ties and Business Disputes.”