Family-owned companies have some unique challenges - particularly when it comes accepting workers like one of the family - or treating the family like one of the workers.

In some companies, family members can enjoy better treatment, quicker promotions and undeserved praise, while other operate an opposite regime which assumes the family members have to work twice as hard to prove their worth.

Either extreme can pollute relationships and create a divide between family owners and company workers, generating an environment of "us versus them". Granted, it is not easy to ensure equal treatment towards the owner's son and a newly-hired stranger but family businesses should be very aware of the threat to internal cohesion and company performance that can result from getting the balance wrong.