Title: Success with succession: an empirical study of small Swedish family firms

Authors: Anna Vikstrom, Mats Westerberg

Addresses: Lulea University of Technology, 971 87 Lulea, Sweden. ' Lulea University of Technology, 971 87 Lulea, Sweden

Abstract: Successful succession in small family firms may be a key to sustainability for the individual firm but also to regional growth. This paper examines how leadership succession factors associated to attitudes, norms and perceived behavioural control of leading actors in a small family firm can be related to how well the succession process works and to the firm|s post-transition performance. We structure factors pointed out in earlier studies according to Ajzen|s theory of planned behaviour (TpB) where we put forward hypotheses for the three areas. The results based on a survey of 55 small family firms that have experienced a leadership succession show that TpB works well for understanding a successful succession process, but is dismal for understanding post-transition performance. The strongest results are found for aspects linked to perceived behavioural control and attitudes.

Keywords: theory of planned behaviour; firm performance; Sweden; regional growth; leadership succession; leadership transition; behavioural control; post-transition performance; behavioural attitudes; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; entrepreneurs; entrepreneurship; family firms; financing; corporate governance; succession issues; small firms.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2010.035816

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2010 Vol.11 No.3, pp.223 - 241

Published online: 05 Oct 2010 *

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