Communicational topics in governance processes of Family Business Succession

Purpose of the paper: The work aims to discover most recalled meta-topics that are considered crucial in a successful family trans-generational passage. In particular, we have stressed the perspective of young generations during the transition.

Methodology: We did a content analysis on qualitative data gathered through interviews. We have studied the succession histories of four family firms, which were reconstructed thanks to a multi-angle comparison which couples the younger and older generations comments.

Results: The common patterns that emerged suggest four main components on which heirs focus their attention during a succession, namely: interest in the business, governing the consensus, management of family identity, and personal power. Each topic is a milestone on a young leaders path to head of the family firm and a focal point on which focus the attention.

Limits: Our sample is limited and contains only male-to-male successions. Hence, our results should be careful handled in making generalizations.

Practical implications: Keeping in mind which should be areas of interest to gain legitimacy and reassure family members and business stakeholders, offers a solid base to consciously plan a succession process, for young leaders and consultant of family firms.

Originality of the study: In relevant literature the communication perspective is underdeveloped although it is mostly importance in the succession process. We have contributed to this branch of studies by offering a set of communication meta-topics that are important to gain legitimacy inside the family business.

Key words: family business succession; communicational topics; incumbent-successor relation

Full PDF