Family home culture and management-employee relationships: Comparing two kibbutz factories

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The purpose of this research was to analyze and compare two kibbutz factories, using familial business theory. The goal was to explain the differences between the management-employee relationships in each enterprise. Kibbutzim and their economic branches originally operated as extended families, but the process of privatization, towards the end of the 20th century, fundamentally questioned this concept of extended family. The results of the study demonstrate how the two kibbutz factories experienced privatization differently. The first kept many of its familial attributes, reflected in its relatively egalitarian and friendly work environment. The second abandoned its previous extended-family organizational culture, leading to more impersonal, hierarchical, and conflict-laden management-employee relations. This qualitative research utilized the interview method to describe and analyze organizational processes in each factory. The conclusions of the study offer an expansion of the theory of familial business culture by adding a different kind of extended-family business to the existing literature. Even after privatization, the kibbutz community influences its economic enterprises and can facilitate familial management-employee relationships. This study offers examples of how to adjust kibbutz industry to a changing capitalist environment, but maintain many of the home-like and friendly relationships between management and employees. Although both factories succeeded economically, the research was more interested in the social cost that the factories paid by abandoning the socialist tradition. Other kibbutz factories can infer how to maintain the high level of the traditional extended-family relations that had existed in pre-privatized kibbutz enterprises. While taking into consideration the special nature of kibbutz society, non-kibbutz factories can use some elements of this study to improve their own labor relations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-107
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Co-operative Organization and Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017


  • Familial business
  • Kibbutz community
  • Organizational culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management


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