The Family

In England by Eller Student

The Art Form of “Family” Business


“Friendship is everything. Friendship is more than talent. It is more than the government. It is almost the equal of family. ” This legendary quote spoken by the illustrious character, Don Corleone, better known as the Godfather, speaks volumes about the significance placed on personal relationships in traditional Italian Sicilian society. In doing so, the legendary Godfather sheds light on a greater cultural issue deeply relevant to our Internship studies.

This week, our lecture group discussed organizational cultures. Incubator, Guided Missile, Family, and Eiffel Tower are all exemplar types of organizational cultures. Each unique organizational category denotes certain values and behaviors that contribute to the distinctive social and psychological environment of an organization. Furthermore, one’s corporate cultural identity greatly affects the methods and principles utilized by an association to conduct their business as well as their interactions with employees, customers, and the wider community.

Fiumano Fine Art experienced an organizational cultural schism this last week. A Sicilian gallery owner rented the space for two weeks to showcase the works of the celebrated Italian artist, Piero Guccione, an artist his family has long represented. My boss was disgruntled, as the Sicilian, Numo, had not yet paid her- making the sum five weeks late! When confronted, Numo told Francesca that he did not know where the money was and that he would have to call his father to ask why the payment was late. Furthermore, Numo seemed affronted that Francesca had doubted his credibility, as their friendship should be reassurance enough. After learning about the organizational cultures, I realized that Numo was functioning in a “Family” person-oriented mindset. In this patriarchal system, Numo had to check with his Father (the power head) before giving Francesca a concrete response. Furthermore, the binding nature of the partnership in Numo’s mindset was not placed on the contract or fee, but rather on the long-term devoted friendship he shared with Francesca. As Corleone explained, in this “la familia” dynamic, personal connections with friends and family are everything and thus tromp regulations, contracts, and even sometimes project goals. Being aware of the dissimilar organizational cultures occurring in a business partnership and possessing the knowledge of the values and practices upheld within that cultural mindset can greatly aid in the successfully collaboration of an international business venture.