Title: The next generation's commitment and willingness to continue the family business: reflecting on potential successors' experiences and pondering

Authors: Hannele Rautamäki; Tarja Römer-Paakkanen

Addresses: Harsel, Aleksis Kivenkatu 4-8D82, 00500 Helsinki, Finland ' HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Sciences, Hietakummuntie 1 A, 00700 Helsinki, Finland

Abstract: We examine the potential successors' i.e., next generation representatives' (NEXTs) commitment and willingness to continue their family business (FB) in the Finnish context. The framework for the empirical study originates from Sharma and Irving's (2005) paper that introduces four bases of FB successor commitment: affective, normative, calculative and imperative commitment. We claim that also entrepreneurship as such can influence NEXTs' commitment and willingness to continue the FB. In this research project a mixed-methods approach is implemented, and we present the results of a survey of the NEXTs of the Finnish Family Firms Association (FFFA). This paper contributes both to FB and entrepreneurship education literature. The results of our survey also help the NEXTs themselves to understand better the succession process, to perceive their own relation to the FB and to decide if they are willing to commit to the FB as active owners.

Keywords: family business; family entrepreneurship; business succession; business transfer; willingness to continue; successor experiences; next generation; successor commitment; career orientation; entrepreneurial career; entrepreneurship intentions; family firms; Finland; entrepreneurship education; succession process.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2016.073356

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2016 Vol.27 No.1, pp.52 - 70

Received: 07 Apr 2015
Accepted: 07 Apr 2015

Published online: 15 Nov 2015 *

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