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Article
Publication date: 3 May 2021

Filippo Ferrari

Drawing on the theory of planned behaviour, this research aims to investigate systemically if and how incumbents and successors share attitudes, social norms and…

Abstract

Purpose

Drawing on the theory of planned behaviour, this research aims to investigate systemically if and how incumbents and successors share attitudes, social norms and perception of the feasibility of their business succession.

Design/methodology/approach

Qualitative research carried out on a group of small Italian family firms (N = 10).

Findings

This study provides evidence of background mechanisms (attitudes, social norms and perception of feasibility) affecting the implementation of business succession planning in family SMEs. Moreover, this study provides further evidence supporting the role of social norms in strategic decision-making processes within family firms.

Research limitations/implications

Findings from this study contribute to current literature in multiple ways and have several research implications.

Practical implications

This study highlights that it is more appropriate to adopt a systemic rather than an individualistic approach in investigating/managing business succession.

Social implications

Family firms are the most widespread type of firms in the world; thus, a systematic failure in business transmission represents a prominent socioeconomical problem for policy-makers and institutions.

Originality/value

This study leads to further developments in exploring business succession from a psychological point of view. Findings also highlight the limits of how a theory applied in order to predict individual behaviour can provide insight into collective behaviour involving a family.

Details

Journal of Family Business Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2043-6238

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Book part
Publication date: 10 December 2018

Claire Seaman, Susanne Ross and Richard Bent

The importance of succession in family business is well documented and there is general agreement that successful succession represents a key factor in the success or…

Abstract

The importance of succession in family business is well documented and there is general agreement that successful succession represents a key factor in the success or otherwise of individual businesses owned and run by families. The importance of gender in family business succession is a much more recent topic, where initial work has focussed very much on the increasing tendency for women to take on the family business as a successor. Far less research, however, considers the scenario where a female leader passes on the business, whether that takes the form of family succession, a new leader from out with the family or indeed business sale. This dearth of research is not entirely surprising: whilst female leaders in a family business context are not new, their numbers have been relatively small and often mediated through the lens of co-preneurship with a male partner. As women increasingly succeed to and found family businesses however, the gender dimension within family business succession develops and the research response forms the basis for this chapter.

Details

Creating Entrepreneurial Space: Talking Through Multi-Voices, Reflections on Emerging Debates
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-372-8

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 22 June 2020

Ilse Matser, Jelle Bouma and Erik Veldhuizen

Family farms, in which business and family life are intricately interwoven, offer an interesting context for better understanding the interdependence between the family

Abstract

Purpose

Family farms, in which business and family life are intricately interwoven, offer an interesting context for better understanding the interdependence between the family and business system. Many family farms struggle to survive, and the succession process is a key period in which the low returns on investment become evident but also the emotional attachment of the family to the farm and the willingness to transfer the business to the next generation. We take the perspective of non-succeeding siblings since they are crucial for a successful succession but their role and position in this process is far from clear. This study will help to increase our knowledge of how fairness is perceived by non-successors and of the impact of perceived (in)justice on the family business system.

Design/methodology/approach

To analyze the effect on sibling relationships of an unequal outcome of the succession process, we choose the family farm context. We used interview data from multiple family members from several family farms in the Netherlands in different stages of succession. We utilized a framework based on justice theory to analyze perceptions of fairness among non-succeeding siblings. The central research question for this study is as follows: How do non-succeeding siblings perceive justice with regard to family firm succession?

Findings

The acceptance of the outcomes of the succession process by non-succeeding siblings is influenced by their perception of the fairness of the process itself and decisions made by the incumbent and successor with regard to these outcomes. It seems that stakeholders who occupy multiple roles with conflicting justice perspectives handle these contradictions with the help of an overarching goal—in this study, preserving the continuity of the family farm—and by prioritizing and adjusting the justice perspectives accordingly. The findings further show that both distributive justice and procedural justice are important and interact with each other.

Originality/value

Our study contributes to the literature by applying the theoretical framework of distributive and procedural justice to the context of family farm succession. This helps us to understand the position of non-succeeding siblings and their role and position in the succession process, which is important because sibling relationships have a significant impact on family harmony, with potential consequences for the business as well.

Details

Journal of Family Business Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2043-6238

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2020

Nadine Schlömer-Laufen and Andreas Rauch

Despite much progress in the field of family business research, there is still no unequivocal quantitative evidence on how many family businesses are generally transferred…

Abstract

Purpose

Despite much progress in the field of family business research, there is still no unequivocal quantitative evidence on how many family businesses are generally transferred within the family and how many are sold to nonfamily members. Accordingly, the purpose of our paper is to overcome this data problem and to try to get a better estimate of these rates.

Design/methodology/approach

To determine a better estimate of intrafamily successions in Germany, we conducted a meta-analysis of 33 samples from 27 studies covering 75,522 firms facing or having already faced a business transfer.

Findings

Our results indicate that 62% of these family firms are (planned to be) transferred to family members. This type of industry strongly determines the mode of succession. However, methodological issues like study quality and sample design also influence estimated succession rates.

Practical implications

Policymakers need robust statistics so they can base their actions and economic policies on reliable information. However, in the absence of official statistics – as in the case of family firms handing over their company within or outside the family – information is difficult to generate. Our findings provide a generalizable estimate of prevalence rates, providing German policymakers, and those in other countries when applying these methods, with useful information.

Originality/value

This paper suggests that a theory of family firm succession needs to consider more deeply the context in which succession decisions occur. By exploring variables affecting succession rates such as firm size and industry but also methodological issues like sample design and study quality, our analysis also provides a better understanding of central determinants of successions within and outside the family.

Details

Journal of Family Business Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2043-6238

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 4 July 2020

Anita Zehrer and Gabriela Leiß

This paper aims to explore the pertinent issues, barriers and pitfalls of intergenerational communication in business families during their leadership succession period.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the pertinent issues, barriers and pitfalls of intergenerational communication in business families during their leadership succession period.

Design/methodology/approach

Building on relational leadership theory, the paper makes use of an action research approach using a qualitative single case study to investigate communication barriers and pitfalls in business transition.

Findings

Through action research, interventions were taken in the underlying case, which increased the consciousness, as well as the personal and social competencies of the business family. Thus, business families stuck in ambivalent entanglement understand their underlying motives and needs within the change process, get into closer contact with their emotional barriers and communication hindrances, which is a prerequisite for any change, and break the succession iceberg phenomenon.

Research limitations/implications

Future research should undertake multiple case studies to validate and/or modify the qualitative methods used in this action research to increase the validity and generalizability of the findings.

Practical implications

Given the large number of business families in transition, our study shows the beneficial effects action research might have on business families’ communication behavior along a change process. The findings might help other business families to understand the value of action research for such underlying challenges and decrease communication barriers.

Originality/value

This is one of the few studies to have addressed intergenerational communication of business families using an action research approach.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 25 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

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Article
Publication date: 11 September 2019

Jocelene Buckman, Paul Jones and Samuel Buame

This paper aims to create a connection between entrepreneurial learning and succession planning in family-owned businesses (FOB), and how they work together to improve a…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to create a connection between entrepreneurial learning and succession planning in family-owned businesses (FOB), and how they work together to improve a firm’s chances of survival beyond the founder within a Ghanaian context.

Design/methodology/approach

Through a phenomenological study, this work investigates succession planning processes in FOB, with the objective of developing a succession model suitable for the Ghanaian context. Using a constructivist perspective, six family businesses were studied, interviewing the founder, successor, family members, employees and customers therein.

Findings

Existing knowledge has been confirmed that succession is not a one-off event, but a process that takes place over time, requiring the buy-in of not just the founder and successor, but also other stakeholders, including the successor’s siblings and spouse (if any), whose support is imperative to the success of the process. This study reviewed and synthesised relevant research data into a conceptual framework.

Research limitations/implications

This study can potentially inform the basis of a longitudinal study, using the developed framework to confirm its robustness. It can also inform further quantitative research to validate the generalisability of the framework.

Practical implications

The study contributes to FOB practice, the holistic succession model spanning the founder’s entry into the business, to the post-succession period, and incorporating contextual intervening variables such as polygamy, religion and systems of inheritance, while also contributing to theory by proposing a comprehensive succession process theory to enhance understanding of the process.

Originality/value

The study contributes increased understanding of the essential elements in the succession process in an African context, what appropriate measures can be implemented for effective succession outcomes, and how key stakeholders of the business can be effectively managed as part of overseeing the succession process for positive organisational outcomes.

Details

Journal of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2053-4604

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Article
Publication date: 27 April 2020

Asma AbdulRahim Chang, Muhammad Shujaat Mubarik and Navaz Naghavi

By taking the theory of entrepreneurial legacy as the baseline, this study explores the various aspects of succession planning in indigenous family businesses especially…

Abstract

Purpose

By taking the theory of entrepreneurial legacy as the baseline, this study explores the various aspects of succession planning in indigenous family businesses especially the role of female family members in succession and conflicts in family businesses.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is qualitative in nature and adopts narrative inquiry to explore the aspects of succession planning. In doing so, the study utilizes an in-depth interviewing technique with nine participants who run their family-owned firms which are mostly in their second or third generation for analysis.

Findings

The findings are concurrent with the literature that indicates a lack of strategic succession planning although ordinary or natural succession does occur in some firms. The study also reports a lack of consideration for female members in succession, daughters in particular, for traditional family firms (FFs) in contrast to entrepreneurial FFs.

Research limitations/implications

The study has many implications for family-owned firms in Pakistan as they need to align their family business with the theory of entrepreneurial legacy and its three strategic activities in order to ensure the longevity of their business.

Originality/value

Exploring how succession planning takes place in family indigenous family businesses and what is the role of female family members in succession and conflicts in family businesses are original contributions of this study.

Details

Journal of Family Business Management, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2043-6238

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Article
Publication date: 2 June 2020

Joseph Kie Kuong Tang and Wan Sabri Hussin

This research study focusses on the succession challenges in small-medium outboard marine businesses of Malaysian Chinese family ownership. The founder-owners face…

Abstract

Purpose

This research study focusses on the succession challenges in small-medium outboard marine businesses of Malaysian Chinese family ownership. The founder-owners face challenges in convincing the next-generation members to establish their careers within the family business and to ensure successions are in place to safeguard the family's wealth. A gap exists in the research literatures concerning such family business owners; and their experiences would provide valuable information to other Malaysian Chinese family businesses planning to start the succession journey.

Design/methodology/approach

An exploratory case study methodology to research five Malaysian Chinese family businesses cases in Klang Valley, Selangor, Malaysia, is used in this study. The primary qualitative data were obtained through in-depth, semi-structured interviews and observations. The research data lead to the identification of the following themes: generational change affects the survival of small-medium Malaysian Chinese family-owned businesses; the founder-owners' intention and desire for business to pass to the next generation give rise to the imperative of succession; the founder-owners' motive and goals, family context and the business nature would determine a large part to how the succession plans are carried out and the upbringing, expectation and obligations would determine how the next generations of children would view the prospect of taking over the family business. From this, a succession model that detailed an inclusive approach to succession planning process between the two generations is established.

Research limitations/implications

A small purposive sample is included, and it is recommended that a larger and more diverse sample be collected in future studies. This study follows a nuclear family structure of parents and children. If more Chinese family businesses are selected based on a wider set of family members such as uncles and cousins, the findings may differ.

Social implications

This research study could also facilitate other Malaysian family businesses to rethink and refocus on the importance of undertaking an inclusive approach to succession planning and also help potential next-generation successors in understanding and working towards attaining the qualities that family firms look for in future leaders.

Originality/value

The researcher summarizes the study findings into a management succession model. An inclusive succession approach is needed to overcome these challenges and would enable sustainability, continuity and longevity of the family business. This would help the family business to understand that succession is not a single event but a process that needs to be planned together with the next-generation family members over a certain period of time.

Details

Journal of Family Business Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2043-6238

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Article
Publication date: 15 January 2020

Alexander Poeschl and Joerg Freiling

The purpose of this paper is to explore the under-researched family-external business succession process. It makes use of entrepreneurship theory in order to conceptualize…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the under-researched family-external business succession process. It makes use of entrepreneurship theory in order to conceptualize this temporal process. This allows for an operationalization of entrepreneurial functions and tracking them during the two main phases of such processes. This study provides a starting point for further endeavors into researching family-external succession processes.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is based on an explorative, quasi-longitudinal, qualitative and multiple case-study approach. It became possible to create trust with stakeholders in three family firms and to conduct face-to-face interviews with a total of 12 interviewees, generating over 300 transcript pages. The case interviews were validated through two expert interviews. A priori research propositions were tested and modified, if deemed necessary.

Findings

Entrepreneurial functions during the two main phases of the process seem to be carried out and aligned depending on several influencing factors: delegation of responsibilities from owner-managers to qualified employees; incumbent owner-managers being heavily involved in the succession’s facilitation and neglecting some entrepreneurial functions; and as a result new owner-managers being forced to prioritize certain functions in the second phase.

Originality/value

This paper benefits from a rather unique access to three family firms undergoing succession in the DACH-region. Therefore, it became possible to study the family-external succession process by including various stakeholders involved. Such an inclusion of perspectives has been suggested by family business scholars for a long time.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 33 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

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Article
Publication date: 27 June 2018

Jahangir Wasim, James Cunningham, Alexander Maxwell-Cole and James Richard Taylor

Knowledge transfer plays a key role in the succession process. While much attention has been given to the passing of business knowledge form incumbent to successor, less…

Abstract

Purpose

Knowledge transfer plays a key role in the succession process. While much attention has been given to the passing of business knowledge form incumbent to successor, less is known about the use of nonfamily knowledge during this most crucial of family business events. The purpose of this paper is to look how knowledge from nonfamily employees is treated at times of succession. Importantly, it considers how the controlling family’s cultural background may influence nonfamily knowledge use, and subsequent implications for the succession process.

Design/methodology/approach

An exploratory comparative case study design is adopted in order to uncover the complex social and cultural dynamics around knowledge use. Four case studies are presented from family businesses of different, and contrasting, cultural origins. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews, observations and formal secondary data from the organisations, all of whom operate in the UK.

Findings

Findings reveal a complex picture, part influenced by the cultural dynamics of the family and part by business necessity. Specifically, power–distance appears as an informative cultural dimension, influencing how knowledge is used and nonfamily are perceived. While some family businesses privilege the knowledge from family, others see the need to build knowledge relationships more broadly.

Originality/value

This paper provides further evidence to the heterogeneity of family businesses. It moves beyond a processual explanation of succession to develop a more contextually aware understanding of the dynamics and sensitivities involved.

Details

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, vol. 26 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2554

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