In family business research, studies have shown that daughters are less likely to be chosen as successors (Ip and Jacobs, 2006; Martin, 2001; Dawley et al., 2004; Vera and Dean, 2005; Wang et al., 2008). More research on gender and succession is required (Martinez Jimenez, 2009; Wang, 2010; Constantinidis and Nelson, 2009) and different contextual settings may offer new insights. In this chapter, we further explore the role of gender in family business succession. We begin by reviewing the literature for explanations of women’s under-representation as successors in family business. We posit that extant research largely takes an essentialist viewpoint and explains gender imbalance either through individual characteristics of women and/or broader environmental factors which differentially impact men and women. We then document five case studies of family business succession in France. We examine whether the explanatory factors offered in the literature are reflected in our case studies. We show how a broader understanding of gender can lend a more nuanced view of family business succession.
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