Title: Succession in family firms: how to improve family satisfaction and family harmony

Authors: Judith Hacker; Michael Dowling

Addresses: Chair of Innovation and Technology Management, University of Regensburg, 93040 Regensburg, Germany. ' Chair of Innovation and Technology Management, University of Regensburg, 93040 Regensburg, Germany

Abstract: Every family firm has to be transferred to a next generation or it ceases to be a family business. Family firm successions are far from easy processes. In this study, we focus on successor choice, successor entry strategy and timing as well as on the existence of trigger events. We test these hypotheses using MANOVA and t-tests on data of 152 German family firms. Our findings reveal that family harmony is higher when the family is involved in the decision making process and when successors enter the business in the age of 17-28 years. Respondents of family firms in which succession was triggered by any event show a lower satisfaction with the succession process. However, the entry strategy of successors does not play any role for the succession outcome.

Keywords: family firms; business transfers; succession processes; family firm successors; Germany; family satisfaction; family harmony; next generation; family businesses; successor choice; successor entry strategies; timing; trigger events; MANOVA; multivariate analysis of variance; t-tests; decision making; succession outcomes; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; entrepreneurs; entrepreneurship; interdisciplinary research; Europe.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2012.044590

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2012 Vol.15 No.1, pp.76 - 99

Published online: 29 Dec 2011 *

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