Research Handbook of Entrepreneurial Exit

Research Handbook of Entrepreneurial Exit

Research Handbooks in Business and Management series

Edited by Dawn R. DeTienne and Karl Wennberg

With contributions from authors around the globe, Research Handbook of Entrepreneurial Exit explores this most important phenomenon in the entrepreneurial journey. This book presents a comprehensive review of the current issues in entrepreneurial exits, and provides theoretical and methodological insights for future research. It explores the historical perspective and discusses topics such as gender and exit, retirement, psychological barriers, emotional aspects, venture capital funding firm relocation and exit from social ventures.

Chapter 8: Psychological barriers and coping strategies in business transfers explored: towards a conceptual model

Edwin Weesie and Lex van Teeffelen

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, strategic management


Entrepreneurship can be stressful and rewarding at the same time, especially in the case of business transfers. As Minor (2003: 11) states, ‘Finally, remember one inviolate truth: eventually, every owner leaves his business. The question is, will you leave feet first on a stretcher or will you sip champagne in celebration of your victory?’ This is a typical ‘description of an entrepreneur ‘dying in the saddle’. Losing a firm or detaching oneself from a business can often be an extraordinary event (Tajani and Hahn, 2012). It can be considered a highly emotional event (Jenkins et al., 2014) and most business owners find it difficult to let go (see, for example, Kets de Vries, 2003; Salvato et al., 2010; Sharma and Manikutty, 2005; and Wennberg et al., 2010), most of all because the occasion will most likely take place only once in a lifetime (Tajani and Hahn, 2012). It is well known that the success rate of business transfers is low (Carr and Elton, 2005; Hussey, 1999; Makhlouk and Shevchuk, 2008; Nordqvist et al., 2013; Schenk, 2002; Selden and Colvin, 2003). Van Teeffelen (2012a) reviews the main challenges that sellers face in business transfers. Emotional and psychological aspects are among the most-mentioned causes for business transfer failure in the literature.

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