Succession is Key: Studying Successor Team Dynamics in Family Firms

6862116590_53e60358e7_z[We’re pleased to welcome Jim Cater of The University of Texas at Tyler. Jim recently published an article in Family Business Review with co-authors Roland E. Kidwell and Kerri M. Camp entitled “Successor Team Dynamics in Family Firms.” From Jim:]

  • What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

My work in family business studies is inspired by my experience as a third generation successor in our family’s business.  My grandfather and my father worked their entire careers in our retail furniture company in south Florida.  Reportedly, at my birth, my grandfather happily exclaimed, “Now, we have someone to run the business for another generation.”

Family businesses ran from father to son in a straight line or so I thought.  After entering our family business, I found that our competitors in south Florida were mostly family businesses.  Two of the largest competitors had multiple family Current Issue Covermembers involved in each generation.  They had plenty of family members to manage multiple stores, while we had to rely on non-family managers, which proved to be problematic for us.

As the furniture business became more and more competitive, my parents decided to sell our stores so that they could retire and so that I could pursue an academic career.  I felt driven to write my dissertation on successors in family businesses. Here again I encountered large families with teams of successors who were able to share responsibilities and work harmoniously together.

The Successor Team paper is the culmination of years of experience, thought, and observation.

The abstract for the paper:

In a qualitative study of 19 family businesses, we examine the dynamics of successor teams, using insights from the family dynamics and succession literature and teams and conflict theory in family business. In-depth interviews with family firm leaders identified two major successor team performance outcomes, a positive track leading to team commitment and a negative track resulting in dissolution of the team and potentially the family firm. Our findings are encapsulated by 10 propositions and a model of successor team dynamics.

You can read “Successor Team Dynamics in Family Firms,” published in Family Business Review, free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to stay current on all of the latest research published by Family Business ReviewClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Image attributed to Stefano Lubiana (CC)
This entry was posted in Family Business, Management, Teams and tagged , , , , , , , by Cynthia Nalevanko, Editor, SAGE Publishing. Bookmark the permalink.

About Cynthia Nalevanko, Editor, SAGE Publishing

Founded in 1965, SAGE is the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. Known for our commitment to quality and innovation, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students across a broad range of subject areas. With over 1500 employees globally from principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC, and Melburne, our publishing program includes more than 1000 journals and over 900 books, reference works and databases a year in business, humanities, social sciences, science, technology and medicine. Believing passionately that engaged scholarship lies at the heart of any healthy society and that education is intrinsically valuable, SAGE aims to be the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. This means playing a creative role in society by disseminating teaching and research on a global scale, the cornerstones of which are good, long-term relationships, a focus on our markets, and an ability to combine quality and innovation. Leading authors, editors and societies should feel that SAGE is their natural home: we believe in meeting the range of their needs, and in publishing the best of their work. We are a growing company, and our financial success comes from thinking creatively about our markets and actively responding to the needs of our customers.

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