An exploration of governance arrangements and the succession process within family businesses

Devine, Anthony (2017) An exploration of governance arrangements and the succession process within family businesses. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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Abstract

This thesis explores how governance arrangements relate to the succession process in family businesses. This is achieved through considering how governance ‘works’ in family businesses and the challenges that family businesses face with the succession process. Academic literature has suggested research into governance of family firms is underdeveloped (Lubatkin, Schulze, Ling, & Dino, 2005; Steier, Chrisman, & Chua, 2004). Similarly, codes of governance for non-listed firms have only been present in the professional literature for the past seven years (ecoDa, 2010; IoD, 2010). The codes emphasise the importance of the succession process which remains the most difficult period for family firms (Cabrera-Suarez, Saa-Perez, & Garcia-Almeida, 2001; Dunn, 1999; Handler, 1994; Lansberg, 1988; Morris, Williams, Allen, & Avila, 1997; Yan & Sorenson, 2006). In more recent times, the media has begun to discuss the need for improvements in the management and governance of family firms (Bloom, 2017). For these reasons a study that explores governance arrangements in family firms and how they relate to the succession processes is important.

The research is underpinned by a constructionist ontology and a social constructionist epistemology. The data were collected through 16 individual face-to-face, semi-structured interviews, with seven family businesses, from a range of industry backgrounds across the United Kingdom. An inductive, thematic approach was taken enabling themes to emerge from the data analysis.

The emergent focus of the findings was an overarching concern for control, both in terms of governance arrangements and the succession process. A theoretical model is presented that shows how ‘moderate’ levels of control lead to ‘optimal’ circumstances for the succession process in family firms. The Family Fundamental Interpersonal Relationship Orientation (FIRO) model (Danes, Rueter, Kwon and Dohery, 2002; Haberman and Danes, 2007) is used as an explanatory framework to propose that ‘optimal’ circumstances are characterised by ‘collaborative’ interpersonal relationships within the family firm.

The research findings and the subsequent theoretical model that has been developed are important because they expand knowledge regarding the relationship between governance and the succession process in family firms. It provides family business members, family business consultants and researchers with a fresh perspective on how to approach governance arrangements and potentially control the challenges that arise during the succession process.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Succession planning, control, family conflict, Family Fundamental Interpersonal Relationship Orientation (FIRO) model, qualitative research into family businesses
Subjects: N100 Business studies
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Newcastle Business School > Accounting and Finance
Depositing User: Becky Skoyles
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2017 12:11
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2017 13:09
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/32459

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