Author: Caykoylu, Sinan
Family businesses are an indispensable part of the local and global economy, and yet they suffer from high organization mortality rates. Both academics and practitioners agree that succession in family business is a high-risk process that contributes significantly to the vulnerability of the organization. The psychological transition from one role to another that the actors go through during a succession carries risks and opportunities for family businesses. The general view in the field is that succession in family businesses is a process during which incumbents gradually decrease their involvement in organizational activities while the successors increase theirs. However, anecdotal evidence indicates that this is not the case for the majority of family firms where there are on-going and overlapping business and kinship relations. This research shows that post-succession predecessor and successor interactions do not end with the transfer of title, authority and/or responsibility from one to the other. Instead, it continues in various shapes and forms, affecting predecessor-successor relationships and impacting the business. model developed by this research, using Grounded theory methodology to collect and analyze the data, shows that as long as the successors perceive that predecessors have some sort of connection (real or imagined) with the organization, predecessors’ post-succession actions will matter to them. Successors will react to their predecessors’ actions positively or negatively depending on whether predecessor actions compete or consolidate successors’ managerial control over the organization. In addition, the model identifies factors that influence both predecessors’ and successors’ behaviors, as well as the individual and organizational outcomes of their interaction. Primary data was collected through twenty-six participants from nineteen Turkish family businesses. Nine of the participants were predecessors and seventeen were successors. The different points of view provided by collecting data from varying groups and having the theory grounded in real-life experiences allowed the emerging framework to be more comprehensive and well-rounded. The discussion about the implications and suggestions of the research will offer researchers the opportunity to expand upon the findings and test them in different contexts, as well as provide practitioners with a framework to deal with this issue in differing real-life cases.
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Thesis advisor: Egri, Carolyn
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