Edited by Léo-Paul Dana
Chapter 42: Family Business Successions: Toward Future Research
Robert H. Brockhaus Sr. Succession of management is a signiﬁcant moment in a family business’s life. Indeed, Ward (1987) deﬁnes a family business as a business that will be passed from one generation to another. Because of the importance of a successful transfer of management, much has been written about succession issues (Sharma et al., 1996). Succession is one issue that requires analysis from the perspectives of family, management and ownership systems in order to understand adequately the perspectives of the diﬀerent stakeholders. Lansberg (1988) describes how succession planning is a topic that is approached with ambivalence because it ‘imposes a wide variety of signiﬁcant changes on the family ﬁrm: family relationships need to be realigned, traditional patterns of inﬂuence are redistributed, and long-standing management and ownership structures must give way to new structures’. Lansberg’s studies suggest how succession aﬀects the founder, the successor, the family, the managers, the owners and other stakeholders. This chapter will attempt to summarize the key issues and what past research has discovered. Its review of research will be structured along a sequence of activities related to succession. The order of topics to be presented is industry strategic analysis; family business analysis; selection of successor; development of successor and relationship issues. Because much of what has been written is not based upon well-designed empirical research studies, suggestions for improved research methodologies will be made. Industry strategic analysis The question of ‘business ﬁrst’ or ‘family ﬁrst’ is usually answered by...
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