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Successors in Dutch family businesses: gender differences

Chantal Remery (Windesheim University of Applied Sciences, Zwolle, The Netherlands)
Ilse Matser (Windesheim University of Applied Sciences, Zwolle, The Netherlands)
Roberto Hans Flören (Nyenrode Business Universiteit, Zwolle, The Netherlands)

Journal of Family Business Management

ISSN: 2043-6238

Article publication date: 8 April 2014




The purpose of this paper is to investigate gender differences among (potential) successors of Dutch family firms with respect to education, self-perceived capabilities and ownership ambition.


The empirical analysis – which includes correlations, t-test and logistic regression analysis – is inspired by several theoretical perspectives used in previous studies and based on a sample of 232 (potential) successors who filled in a questionnaire.


The results show that there is a clear gender difference regarding ownership; men strive more often for full ownership, whereas women opt for shared ownership, even when controlling for relevant variables such as the presence of children.

Research limitations/implications

Future research should address the precise reasons why female successors prefer shared ownership. Particularly, it would be interesting to include the impact of the institutional environment, for example the specific Dutch working culture, where the majority of women works part-time.

Practical implications

Shared ownership might be more complicated in terms of governance and management than full ownership.

Social implications

Opportunities for shared ownership might stimulate more women to take over the family firm, and therefore contribute to more diversity among family business owners.


This paper contributes to the still limited knowledge on gender differences among successors of family firms.



The authors wish to thank Jacqueline van Zwol for sharing the data set and Lesley Tomaszewski for editing the paper.


Remery, C., Matser, I. and Hans Flören, R. (2014), "Successors in Dutch family businesses: gender differences", Journal of Family Business Management, Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 79-91.



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