The paradox for the family firm CEO: Owner age relationship to succession-related processes and plans

James P. Marshall, Ritch Sorenson, Keith Brigham, Elizabeth Wieling, Alan Reifman, Richard S. Wampler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

57 Scopus citations

Abstract

The failure of family firms to transition to second and third generations has prompted researchers to examine succession processes. This study proposes that adding demographic and behavioral variables to existing models can enrich theoretical frameworks. Using a structural equation model, it was found that older owner age was positively associated with formal succession plans. However, paradoxically, older owner age was also negatively associated with cooperative conflict management, an approach that was positively associated with the importance of succession planning. Owner age was also positively associated with competitive conflict management, an approach that was negatively associated with formal succession planning. Thus, increased owner age is directly associated with formal succession plans, but indirectly associated with behavioral practices that interfere with succession planning. In addition, the study revealed that, although not related to owner age, both autocratic and relational leadership are positively related to the importance of succession planning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-368
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Business Venturing
Volume21
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2006

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Conflict
  • Family firm
  • Leadership
  • Succession

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