Generational Succession: Examples from Tunisian Family Firms
Journal of Enterprising Culture (JEC), 2009
Posted: 15 Jun 2010 Last revised: 21 Jun 2010
Date Written: June 1, 2009
The family character gathers firms whose weight in the economic activity of countries is considerable for developed countries as well as for the others. However, this type of firm is exposed to not only the threats that challenge all types of firms but they must also face dangers related to their family nature.
Several American and European studies were interested in the succession issues associated with family businesses. However, this topic received very little theoretical and empirical investigation in developing countries. In Tunisia, the push in favor of private firms was given in the 60s. Nearly 50 years later, those entrepreneurs who had received state aid to start their businesses are about to retire. How is this dealt with? How is succession "guaranteed"? Hard as it may be to speculate on the outcome of this succession, can we at least describe its phases first and then consider the factors that could have an impact on it? These central questions to Tunisia's economy have yet to be answered academically.
Our aim, in this paper, is to improve our understanding of the nature of the relation between the founder and his successor during the process of succession in the Tunisian family business while proposing reflections to be carried out to make a success of this generational change.
Our paper is organized as follows. The first part will be an analysis of the literature on family firms and the succession process. In the second part, we will introduce the methodological aspects of our study, which was conducted on six Tunisian family firms at different stages of the succession process. In the third part, we will present and discuss the results.
Keywords: Succession process, predecessor, successor, family firms, retirement
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