Transmission of family businesses in France

Katherine Gundolf (GSCM‐Montpellier Business School, Montpellier, France)
Olivier Meier (Université Paris Est, Paris, France)
Audrey Missonier (GSCM‐Montpellier Business School, Montpellier, France)

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Publication date: 25 January 2013



The purpose of this research paper is to show to what extent psychological, cultural and behavioural factors can influence on the succession process in the particular case of family‐run businesses?


Data on 12 directors of family‐run SME were grouped together on the basis of questions derived from the research question. To do this, the authors operated using a principle guided by cross referencing responses, that is, finding the incidence of elements that make it possible to justify substantively the existence of the category and the common existence of these elements within the cases studied.


The thematic analysis performed made it possible to highlight five main motives for cultural and psychological resistance in former directors: the loss of power and influence, the risk of deconstruction, the loss of professional and social legitimacy, the loss of references and meaning, and the refusal of old age and death.


The results show that transferors search for connections in the aim of identifying common points of anchor, affinities on to which they can project themselves as an element of continuity or an extension of their personality. The paper can in particular note the importance given to cultural proximity and to previous professional relations with the transferor. These criteria, unlike personal factors, are of the interpersonal type and thus deeply imprinted on the transferor's most intimate desires and motivations, including the main desire, which is to search for all that can make possible an extension of himself within his company and thus ensure the permanence of his values and his time at the organisation.



Gundolf, K., Meier, O. and Missonier, A. (2013), "Transmission of family businesses in France", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 19 No. 1, pp. 53-71.

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