Title: Securing post-succession continuity in family firms through knowledge transfer

Authors: Ilse Matser; Sascha Kraus; Stefan Märk

Addresses: Windesheim University of Applied Sciences, P.O. Box 10090, 8000 GB, Zwolle, The Netherlands. ' University of Liechtenstein, Fürst-Franz-Josef-Strasse, FL-9490 Vaduz, Liechtenstein. ' University of Innsbruck, Department for Strategic Management, Marketing and Tourism, Universitätsstrasse 15, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria

Abstract: The focus on continuity appears to be one of the key drivers behind the success of family firms. If familiness can be transferred from one generation to another, this legacy may well be the core of the family firm concept. An important requirement for achieving this is the tacit knowledge transfer between successor and incumbent. The aim of this paper is to increase the understanding of how knowledge transfer influences post-succession performance. In May 2008, a survey was conducted with 135 Dutch family firms which had all recently completed a succession process. The analysis of the data leads to some tentative conclusions concerning the positive effect of a family member as a successor and the importance of a smooth transfer of the tacit knowledge of a firm.

Keywords: family firms; knowledge management; transfer climate; trans-generational succession; post-succession continuity; knowledge transfer; The Netherlands; Dutch firms; tacit knowledge.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2011.043471

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2011 Vol.14 No.4, pp.478 - 496

Available online: 01 Nov 2011 *

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