Intra-Family Succession Goals: Perceptions of the Dominant Coalition of Small Private Family Firms
Intra-family succession is the transfer of management, leadership and / or control of the business from one family member to another, and has been a core topic in family business research (Debicki, Matherne, Kellermanns, and Chrisman, 2009). Family firm researchers have suggested that family firms have a strong desire toward economic and non-economic goals (Kotlar and De Massis, 2013). However, how these goals fit into the strategic management decision of intra-family succession has not been explored by researchers (Chrisman, Kellermanns, Chan, and Liano, 2010). The purpose of this study is to identify and explain the importance of the goals that small private family firms expect to achieve through intra-family succession that cannot be achieved through non-family succession as “success in strategic management, including the management of intra-family succession, must be measured in terms of goal achievement” (De Massis, Sharma, Chua, and Chrisman, 2012, p. 30). To examine why intra-family succession goals (IFSGs) are important, this study relies on the psychological personality constructs of generativity (concern for guiding and establishing the next generation) and narcissism (an individual’s self-assurance, self-esteem and satisfaction with oneself). The respondents of this study are those family members who make up the dominant coalition (founders, incumbents, and potential successors) of the family firm. Only those firms where the family has the ability to influence firm behavior, and the intention (willingness) for intra-family succession, are included in this study. Qualitative data was collected to identify IFSGs, and these IFSGs are used in the development of the structured questionnaire. Fourteen IFSGs were identified from the qualitative phase of the study. The data collected from the structured questionnaire was subject to various statistical methods. The results suggest that the dominant coalition of small private family firms considered each IFSG as important, and that generativity and narcissism partially explain why these goals are important. The findings suggest that gender and the individual’s role within the dominant coalition influence the hypothesized relationship between IFSGs and generativity, and the IFSG of legacy and narcissism. This research provides several analytical, methodological and theoretical contributions and paves the way for further theoretical and empirical enquiry into intra-family succession of small private family firms.
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