The family system also appears in organizations, and when we work in organizations, we often touch the personal level and may feel insecure of what to do. Obviously, the contract you made to work on organizational issues, has to be reviewed before you can work on personal issues, related to the family system.

It can even cause a lot of damage, when doing an organizational constellation and you let it become a family constellation, because you make it personal. Later, it gives coworkers the opportunity to blame each other, that he or she let personal issues disturb the management.

You have to be careful, when you open up a family issue in an Organization, because you can´t make it unspoken again

If you don’t know, how the patterns work out in family systems, and you are not trained in family constellations, it is difficult to recognize these family patterns, when you work with an organization.

Recognizing them gives the possibility to park them, and not become entangled as a facilitator with these patterns.

Recognizing them also gives the possibility to mention the contract and – if the setting is appropriate – renegotiate the contract, to be able to work with family patterns.

Approximately 80% of the organizations are family businesses

Considering that approximately 80% of the organizations are family businesses, very often, family patterns are part of the organization system. The members of these businesses often don’t recognize that.
The facilitator can bring a lot of clarity if (s)he simply can explain how family systems work, how organizational systems work and how patterns attract patterns.

When there is a conflict between the son in law and the manager, the conflict probably has nothing to do with them individually.

Probably these two individuals are just symptom-carrier of the missing clarity of borders between two systems. (And then, another question occurs: “is the son in law really part of the family”?

When the business substitutes, what was missing in the family

We often see with constellations, that parts of the business are substitutes, for what was missing in the family. Or that someone relates to her or his organization, as if it is a relationship with a family member.

A business is not flowing well

Sometimes the “reason” for this is to be found in the family system. For example, when the wife of the owner is finally acknowledged and thanked for her silent support of the business. Or perhaps all the wives during the last centuries, who silently and without salaries worked hard to support the businesses of their partners. Then, suddenly the business can fully flow.

A strange phenomena we often see, is when people (in the Netherlands) call their business “a practice”. In this case, the practice often represents the mother in a way, where the owner relates to the practice as (s)he relates to the mother.
When there are questions about the practice, and you don’t feel as comfortable with family constellation as organizational constellations, or when you simply do not think about the family system, it’s difficult to find out, what the real issue is.


Bibi Schreuder

Written by Bibi Schreuder, Co-owner at the Hellinger Institute.

Bibi is an expert in working with organizational challenges when family dynamics are luring.

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