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Succession in Family Firms
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Center for Family Enterprise and Ownership (CeFEO). Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Business Administration.
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, ESOL (Entrepreneurship, Strategy, Organization, Leadership). Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Center for Family Enterprise and Ownership (CeFEO).ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3998-1515
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Center for Family Enterprise and Ownership (CeFEO).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3613-4233
2013 (English)In: The Landscape of Family Business / [ed] Ritch L. Sorenson, Andy Yu, Keith H. Brigham and G. T. Lumpkin, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2013, p. 167-197Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The process of succession in family firms is often both lengthy and complex, and is influenced by factors such as the personal goals of the owner-manager, family structure, ability and ambitions of potential successors, and legal and financial issues (Le BretonMiller, Miller, & Steier, 2004). Scholars of family business tend to emphasize what determines successful ownership and management succession involving family members and non-family stakeholders, alongside the general characteristics of effective succession (Handler, 1994; Le Breton-Miller et al., 2004; Sharma, Chrisman, & Chua, 2003a). A majority of privately held firms in many developed countries are likely to shift ownership as the owners approach retirement. Thus, from a public policy perspective, there is a need to study the conditions surrounding successful succession of family firms and the implications of these successions in the socio-economic context. This chapter presents a comprehensive review of the scholarly literature on ownership transition and management succession in family firms. We found that most of the literature on succession is conceptual or relies on a small number of cases and/or surveys based on convenience samples. For instance, 71 percent of the work published since the mid-1970s consists of descriptive investigations based on aggregated data or micro studies of firm succession based on small samples or a small number of illustrative cases. We see a need for more studies about the effects of succession on long-term development in privately held firms and how succession affects economic outcomes at different levels of analysis (Yu, Lumpkin, Sorenson, & Brigham, 2012).* We conducted a literature review based upon a cluster analysis that identifies four levels of analysis that dominate the current literature on succession. These levels are important for understanding transition processes and allow us to identify three main areas that offer particular interesting avenues for future research. First, succession involves, among other things, the goals and options of several actors: The individual owners and managers, the family members, the economic environment, and the potential successors, to varying degrees, who may influence the transition process. We discuss this multilevel perspective within the context of the conceptual literature. Although it is adopted in some qualitative studies, multilevel quantitative research is generally scarce. Because succession is an inherently multilevel phenomenon, we argue that empirical research must also adopt a multilevel perspective. Second, we note that succession research focuses primarily on management transitions. In contrast, ownership transfer has received much less attention. For many small- and medium-sized enterprises (including family businesses), these two transitions go hand in hand (Handler, 1994).1 Yet, there are reasons to single out and more closely examine ownership transition that involves not only financial issues and asset valuation, but also emotional issues such as perceived fairness among involved actors, which may represent the most critical part of a succession. Third, our review shows that suitable analytical techniques and representative sampling methods are lacking. There is an increased need for generalizable empirical evidence that can be used to test the limits and boundary conditions of different theoretical models, and to generate insights for owners, managers, and policy-makers. The chapter is organized as follows. In section two, we describe the methodology. Section three reviews the extant research and discusses a selection of articles represented within the categories identified in the cluster analysis. Section four uses these insights to highlight some avenues for future research that would help to fill some of the research gaps identified by our review and analysis. We highlight areas worthy of future inquiry and discuss some of the methodological issues that need to be addressed to further the research in this area. Section five provides a brief conclusion.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Edward Elgar Publishing, 2013. p. 167-197
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-22048ISBN: 9781782547532 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-22048DiVA, id: diva2:651084
Available from: 2013-09-24 Created: 2013-09-24 Last updated: 2018-09-05Bibliographically approved

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Baù, MassimoHellerstedt, KarinNordqvist, Mattias

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