One man company or managed succession

Manlio Del Giudice (Faculty of Science Studies, Second University of Naples, Capua, Italy)
Maria Rosaria Della Peruta (Faculty of Economics, Second University of Naples, Capua, Italy)
Vincenzo Maggioni (Faculty of Economics, Second University of Naples, Capua, Italy)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Publication date: 28 June 2013



The purpose of this paper is to examine how the organizational change management that characterizes the transitional moments of family businesses may open a transcendental horizon from which a business model arises that is built around the sovereignty of the family institution and must necessarily share the solution of agency problems which emerge as the overlapping between ownership and management recedes, and a management style oriented towards the evolution of the relations between family and business.


Taking its starting point from recent research, the proposed study aims at finding empirical validation of research hypotheses formulated through the development of a factorial analysis and the construction of an innovative model of structural equations able to provide an empirical solution to processes, up to now, left unresolved by management literature on the subject.


By empirically linking stewardship behaviours to capacity to keep the dynastic myth for generations, the authors have demonstrated that stewardship behaviors act as an effective governance mechanism for family businesses in specific change management situations related to the process of generational turnover. Further, the authors provide an important first step in linking theory building with theory testing and conclude the stewardship scale is positioned to play an important role in establishing alignment between the representation of consciousness of family business, in the realization of the self, and extra‐psychological symbolic dimension, in the realization of family history and destiny.

Research limitations/implications

These discussions need to be validated and rendered more generalizable through extensive empirical research. First, though this study drew from cross‐sectional industrial data for the pilot test and then from a more focused industry‐specific sample (validation study), the generalizability of the construct could be a limitation of the stewardship scale. Second, we acknowledge the criticisms associated with a single country sample bias in our sample. A third associated limitation relates to the difficulty of developing a scale to tap individual and firm level behaviors.


Despite much progress, the extant literature on the psychology of strategic management has emphasized the behavioural and cognitive aspects of strategy formulation and implementation at the expense of emotional and affective ones, leading to an inadequate portrayal of strategic management as a series of rational and dispassionate activities. The originality of this empirical study has been to retrace, through the analysis of specific phenomena such as the multigenerational transition which characterize family businesses, the unconscious decisions within the decisional processes, which may transmit the original entrepreneurial dream into an organizational pathway, even in the case of a non‐family succession.



Del Giudice, M., Rosaria Della Peruta, M. and Maggioni, V. (2013), "One man company or managed succession", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 26 No. 4, pp. 703-719.

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