Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship Research
Edited by Robert Blackburn, Ulla Hytti and Friederike Welter
Chapter 8: The gendered nature of family business succession: case studies from France
The issue of daughter exclusion in family business succession remains an under-researched area (Ip and Jacobs, 2006). Indeed, the role that gender plays in succession has received little attention in the literature (Martinez Jimenez, 2009; Martin, 2001; Wang, 2010). In light of the expected increase in turnover of ownership in family business in the coming decade, it is important to understand the issues facing women in the succession process. More research on gender and succession is required (Wang, 2010; Constantinidis and Nelson, 2009): we need to understand why so few women currently lead family businesses (Vera and Dean, 2005). Without such research, there is a danger that gender bias will lead to potential successors being ignored or undervalued (Martinez Jimenez, 2009) which could create a situation where worthy successors are not ‘groomed’ and failure becomes in-built (Wang et al., 2008). However, at the same time, we need to recognize that researching gender is not just about pinpointing the impact one’s sex category has on one’s potential to be a successor. Following our colleagues in entrepreneurship, we insist on the need for more research which uses a ‘gender as a lens’ approach as opposed to a ‘gender as a variable’ approach (Greene et al., 2006; Brush et al., 2012). This implies recognition of the importance of context and a conceptualization of succession as a gendered activity.
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