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Family Business

International Family Business Succession

Research on international family business and conflict is incomplete because most studies focus on United States–based family enterprises. There are, however, studies that may shed light on conflict and family business succession in an international context. Differences in ethnic background may influence the expectations of family business members in a succession process (Sharma, 1997). For example, Chau (1991), McGoldrick and Troast (1993), and Wong (1993) suggest that there are differences in the basic philosophy and underlying assumptions of the family members of different ethnic backgrounds with regards to the way succession is handled. For example, while Chinese family enterprises divide the family assets equally among the male members, Japanese family enterprises often have one male heir who is the successor and receives all the assets. Other succession issues that vary across cultures are patterns of communication (e.g. face-saving/confrontation), modes of conflict resolution (e.g. direct/indirect), value given to education, and the position of women in the culture (Chau 1991; Fruin 1980; Lansberg and Perrow 1991; Rothstein 1992; McGoldrick and Troast 1993; Dean 1992; Stallings 1992). For example, in Japan, succession is viewed as a foundation for the professionalism of the children and not a priority, and in China, succession is viewed as a family legacy and a top priority (Dean 1992; Wong, McReynolds, and Wong 1992). Additionally, in Japan women have been denied a visibly prominent role in the family business; however, recent findings have reported that women own 23 percent of all family businesses in Japan (Wild, Wild, and Han 2000). In Australia women own 33 percent of the family businesses, in Canada 31 percent, in Mexico 16 percent, and in the Netherlands women own 15 percent of the family businesses (Wild, Wild, and Han 2000).

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