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Gender, power and succession in family farm business

Jane L. Glover (School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK)

International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship

ISSN: 1756-6266

Article publication date: 2 September 2014




The purpose of the paper is to present a case example of the power struggles and gender issues one daughter faced when she became a partner, and future successor, in the family business. This paper uses an ethnographic approach in order to study a small family farm in England. The case focuses on a small family farm, these businesses are unique in terms of their values and expectations for succession (Haberman and Danes, 2007), and identified by Wang (2010) as a fruitful avenue for research on daughter succession.


The empirical work was gathered through the use of a single site ethnographic case study involving participant observation as the researcher worked on the family farm and semi-structured interviews with family members over two years.


The results shed light on some of the social complexities of small family farms and power struggles within the family exacerbated by perceived gender issues. The work also highlights the potential threat to the daughter’s position as a partner, from her father’s favouritism of male employees.

Practical implications

Institutions that provide help to family farm businesses need to be aware of the potential power issues within the family specifically related to gender, particularly in terms of succession planning.


Using ethnography in family firms allows the researcher to be a part of the real-life world of family farmers, providing rich data to explore daughter succession.



L. Glover, J. (2014), "Gender, power and succession in family farm business", International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 276-295.



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