Founder’s Dilemma: Ask Son to Join Family Business or Allow Him to Pursue His Dream?


Devdutt Sharma is one of the founders of Rajyog Ayurvedashram, in Delhi, India. His only son Rajendra earned his master’s degree from a university in the United States before joining his father’s business. However, Rajendra felt controlled by his father and eventually felt that his professional career was unfulfilled at Rajyog Ayurvedashram. Rajendra approached a friend who owned an automobile company, Surendra & Surendra Automotive. He joined his friend’s firm, initially as a production manager, later moving to the research and development department, where he earned recognition for developing and designing new models of cars. Finally, he was promoted to Vice President of International Operations in Indonesia. Before moving to Indonesia, Rajendra visited his parents.

During the visit, Devdutt realised that it had been 15 years since Rajendra had left home and the family business. Devdutt had so many questions going round in his head, including one of prime importance: Who would eventually take Devdutt’s place in the company? Devdutt thought that Rajendra certainly had the capability, and he had proved that at Surendra &Surendra Automotive. As a father, Devdutt wished his son Rajendra could take his legacy forward and lead the business after him. However, Rajendra was now busy living his own dream. Devdutt was in a dilemma: Should he ask Rajendra to return to the family business? What if Rajendra disagreed with this proposal? Now that Rajendra is moving abroad for his new assignment, should Devdutt disturb him or let him pursue his current career trajectory? Students are asked to consider what “went wrong” in this situation and to suggest ways that Devdutt could have avoided his dilemma.

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