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The role of commitment in the succession of hospitality businesses

Mike Peters (Senior Lecturer at MCI Management Center Innsbruck, Department of Tourism Business Studies, Innsbruck, Austria)
Margit Raich (Assistant Professor at the Divison for Health Policy, Administration and Law, UMIT – University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology, Tirol, Austria)
Stefan Märk (Lecturer at the Department for Strategic Management, Marketing and Tourism, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria)
Sabine Pichler (Junior Researcher, Institute for Regional Development and Location Management, EURAC Research, Bozen, Italy)

Tourism Review

ISSN: 1660-5373

Article publication date: 8 June 2012




The take‐over of the hospitality family business by the entrepreneur's daughter or son is a complex process. The aim of the paper is to analyse the impact of commitment on succession in hospitality family businesses from the viewpoint of the successors. The contribution aims to shed more light on the different dimensions of commitment relevant for the succession process.


To understand the role of commitment in the succession process this study uses a qualitative approach. Interviews were carried out with 15 successors of hospitality businesses in South Tyrol, Italy. The obtained narrative texts have been transcribed and evaluated with GABEK®, a tool for analyzing qualitative data. The transcripts of the interviews were separated into text units and coded, developing a network of data. This rule‐based procedure of systematizing, coding and interpreting considers both syntax and semantics and enhances the validity of the results.


The results reveal that commitment seems to play a very major role in the whole succession. A cluster analysis indicates the linkage of three topics: Motives, Family business and Take‐over constitute the construct “Commitment”. The motives show that parents' heritage or the successors' perceptions of the business as the home where they have grown up are important reasons to run this family business. Also trust or personal support through family members can be interpreted as push motives to become the successor.

Research limitations/implications

Results may be influenced by the geographical concentration, but also by the selection process of the interviewees. The research is based on qualitative data that were gathered in one particular region in South Tyrol, Italy. Furthermore, the successors who participated in the survey mostly were very successful businesses keen on joining this research. Further research should focus on the role of commitment and its antecedents and consequences. In addition, commitment bases should be investigated from the predecessor but also from the successors' perspective in the light of the current and past business and business environment situation.

Practical implications

The results highlight that in the succession process, different bases of commitment exist which particularly influence the perception of succession process. Furthermore, they can be interpreted as hurdles or facilitators to the transition of the family business.


This paper provides useful information on the impact of commitment on succession in hospitality family businesses from the viewpoint of the successors.



Peters, M., Raich, M., Märk, S. and Pichler, S. (2012), "The role of commitment in the succession of hospitality businesses", Tourism Review, Vol. 67 No. 2, pp. 45-60.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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