Lost in Time: Intergenerational Succession, Change, and Failure in Family Business

Posted: 28 Oct 2009

See all articles by Danny Miller

Danny Miller

HEC Montreal

Lloyd Steier

University of Alberta - Department of Strategic Management and Organization

Isabelle Le Breton-Miller

HEC Montreal - Department of Management

Date Written: 2003

Abstract

Previous research has shown there is a high failure rate (70%) for successions in family owned businesses. Other researchers have suggested that the reasons why such successions fail are: unclear succession plans, incompetent or unprepared successors, and family rivalries. In this paper, poorly performing or failed family enterprises were tracked for several years to determine what happened. Sixteen intergenerational successions, which were followed by poor performance ending either in successor dismissal or bankruptcy, were studied. Findings indicated that intergenerational successions were often hampered by an inappropriate relationship between the past and the future. Specific problems identified include: excessive attachment to the past by an overly dependent and conservative successor, a rejection of the past by a rebellious one, or an incongruous blending of past and present by an unsure and wavering new leader. The fact that these patterns occur with such regularity suggests that they be studied further as syndromes that must be combated by a great many family owned businesses. (SFL)

Keywords: Organizational change, Resistance to change, Attitudes, Succession, Family firms, Firm performance

Suggested Citation

Miller, Danny and Steier, Lloyd and Le Breton-Miller, Isabelle, Lost in Time: Intergenerational Succession, Change, and Failure in Family Business (2003). Journal of Business Venturing, Vol. 18, Issue 4, p. 513-531 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1495473

Danny Miller (Contact Author)

HEC Montreal ( email )

3000, Chemin de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine
Montreal, Quebec H2X 2L3 H3T 2A7
Canada

Lloyd Steier

University of Alberta - Department of Strategic Management and Organization ( email )

Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2R6
Canada

Isabelle Le Breton-Miller

HEC Montreal - Department of Management ( email )

Montreal, Quebec H3T 2A7
Canada
15143407315 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.hec.ca/profs/isabelle.le-breton.html

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