Title: The importance of specific human capital, planning and familiarity in Dutch small firm ownership transfers: a seller's perspective

Authors: Lex Van Teeffelen, Lorraine Uhlaner, Martijn Driessen

Addresses: Faculty of Economics and Management, University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, P.O. Box 85029, 3508 AA Utrecht, the Netherlands. ' EDHEC Business School, 24 Avenue Gustave Delory, CS 50411, 59057 Roubaix Cedex 1, France. ' Entrepreneur Consultancy, Bisonspoor 1216, 3605 KZ Maarssen, the Netherlands

Abstract: This study focuses on the transfer process and the importance of human capital and succession planning as firm resource from the seller|s perspective. It further differentiates amongst two types of human capital – specific and generic – to predict the transfer duration, obtained price and satisfaction with the transfer. A representative dataset of 112 Dutch small firm owners, who sold their firm in 2005 and 2006, is analysed. Hierarchical multiple regressions show that specific human capital, like flexibility, social skills and market awareness predict transfer performance better than generic human capital like general education. Results also indicate that succession planning in business transfers is unrelated to the objective transfer performance indicators transfer duration and obtained price. Succession planning is strongly related to the subjective transfer performance indicator satisfaction. Results also show that familiarity between seller and buyer rather than kinship or family ties is a key predictor for all transfer performance indicators.

Keywords: succession planning; familiarity; transfer performance; prices; transfer satisfaction; business transfers; transfer duration; entrepreneurial exits; firm ownership; ownership transfers; seller perspectives; Holland; Netherlands; transfer processes; specific capital; generic capital; transfer duration; obtained price; hierarchical regressions; multiple regressions; flexibility; social skills; market awareness; general education; performance indicators; buyers; kinship; family ties; social capital; human capital; cultural capital; Europe; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; entrepreneurs; entrepreneurship.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2011.042166

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2011 Vol.14 No.1, pp.127 - 148

Published online: 30 Aug 2011 *

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