[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 members 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.
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