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Family Business

Propensity Of A Successor To Take Over

Propensity of a successor to take over is the inclination of a successor to take over the leadership of a business (Christensen 1953). Taking over the leadership of the business entails influence, authority, and control. Research has shown that the propensity of a successor to take over is positively related to the acceptance of individual roles, career interests (Handler 1992), and payoffs from the business (Malone 1989). Conflict may occur when anyone voices or displays the interest in taking over the business. This display of interest may lead to resentment from other family members who feel they are being forced to accept roles among family members. Such is the case from the earlier example where both the older siblings who worked in the family business "learning the ropes" as managers and the younger siblings who went to college express interest in becoming successor. Will siblings who expect to become the successor mutually accept another as successor and their (unexpected) subordinated role?

Other family members may also be upset because there is a perceived lack of financial reward for the potential successor. If the enterprise itself has matured or if there is the perception that profits cannot be enhanced or sustained or the market share cannot grow, then a potential successor may not come forward. Thus, without the perception of monetary financial gains, the family enterprise may not succeed to the next generation. Other family members may also believe the potential successor lacks continuity between his or her career interests and the opportunities available in the family enterprise or that the potential successor does not have the type of leadership style needed. Managed effectively, conflict can serve to define terms and clarify needs, expectations, and goals, leading to productive and positive outcomes.

Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaFamily Theory & Types of FamiliesFamily Business - Mutual Acceptance Of Roles, Agreement To Continue The Business, Propensity Of A Successor To Take Over