The invisible line – the concept of boundary in family business – Continued

Boundaries help uphold positions of respect and decorum.

They are used as a practical mechanism of checks and balances. For example, a typical family would segregate food at home based on what has been eaten from, what is untouched, what is fresh, what is uncooked etc. There are strict rules on entering the kitchen after bathing and so on. These are laid out with the aim of ensuring hygiene and health.

Boundaries are not only a reflection of hierarchy. The essence of boundaries lies in sense-control. While money is popularly called the root of all evil, in reality, traditional Indian philosophy holds that it is unchecked sense gratification that is the root of all evil. The Manusmriti says, a man shouldn’t sleep in the same bed with his mother, sister and daughter – for the base senses are stronger than the discerning mind and one never knows when one might be deceived.

The senses are akin to wild horses. They are tamed with practice and determination. By following a specific framework of interaction, there is little scope for the senses to run amuck.

With modernization and growing nuclear families, there is an apparent lack of boundaries in the public space – people are more expressive and there is seemingly less concern about physical boundaries. However, there is more and more need for personal space within families, more emotional isolation and alienation in relationships.

What implications does boundary have in the business organization? We will tackle that in a separate post.


Read more:

6 ways to build your family’s human capital 

What Influences Culture in Family Businesses?

Keywords: Boundary, lakshman-rekha, Lakshmana, Sita, Rama, alienation, personal space, hygiene, health, decorum, honour, relationship

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