Coherence between Values and Successor Socialization: Facilitating Family Business Continuity

IESE Working Paper No. D/512

15 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2003

See all articles by Ercilia Garcia Alvarez

Ercilia Garcia Alvarez

University of Navarra, IESE Business School

Jordi López Sintas

Universitat Autònoma Barcelona; UAB

Date Written: July 2003


The problem of CEO succession is critically important yet unique and distinct from that of turnover at other levels. Research in management agrees with the findings in family business research regarding the preference for an insider as successor, more specifically a family insider. Successful family business continuity requires raising potential successors who will add value to the firm by seeking new opportunities and fostering entrepreneurship. Parties external to the firm are likely to view succession as a signal about the institution's future; this makes CEO succession a critical event for virtually every organization. In this paper the authors outline a model that presents the different coherent options for value transmission and successor socialization that facilitate family business continuity from first to second generation. The findings are grounded in combined qualitative and quantitative techniques applied to an extensive research project involving in-depth cross-case analysis. Based on the results, the authors identify issues that families and practitioners should take into account to maintain consistency during the succession process. Professionals can assist families in preparing for continuity by: 1) identifying family value systems; 2) analyzing the variables at play in the family-business system, and 3) proposing a coherent option of continuity that both family and business can pursue. The model presented in this paper is intended to help families and practitioners follow this path by pointing out coherent combinations of values and family business characteristics and different successor socialization processes.

Keywords: Family business, succession, values, succesors, socialization

Suggested Citation

Garcia Alvarez, Ercilia and López Sintas, Jordi and López Sintas, Jordi, Coherence between Values and Successor Socialization: Facilitating Family Business Continuity (July 2003). IESE Working Paper No. D/512, Available at SSRN: or

Ercilia Garcia Alvarez (Contact Author)

University of Navarra, IESE Business School ( email )

Avenida Pearson 21
Barcelona, 08034

Jordi López Sintas

UAB ( email )

Bellaterra, Barcelona 08193


Universitat Autònoma Barcelona ( email )

Faculty of Economics
Dept. d'Empresa, Edifici B
Bellaterra, Barcelona 08193
+34935812270 (Phone)
+34935812555 (Fax)


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