The Effects of Early Succession Planning in Family Businesses

No Thumbnail Available
Issue Date
Wallen, Shawn
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Succession planning is a tool that can determine the sustainability of family-owned businesses (Muskat & Zehrer, 2017; Tang & Hussin, 2020). While studies exist on family businesses' succession planning, little research has been done about the effects of early succession planning on family businesses in the United States. Early succession planning, which may begin years before the expected succession, may be more effective in facilitating the multigenerational continuity of family business ownership and management than rapid or last-minute succession planning (Porfírio et al., 2020). This study focused on small-size family-owned businesses. According to Ballaro and Polk (2017), senior leaders directly or indirectly affect the achievement of goals. Utilizing the human capital theory, agency theory, and leadership model theory, the researcher uses this qualitative descriptive case study to explore the limited understanding of the effects of early succession planning in family-owned businesses with less than 50 employees. The study examined the views of leaders from family businesses in Western Washington. Participants for the study were selected through a pre-interview survey and then took part in individual semi-structured interviews. The data was analyzed using the six-step, thematic, inductive procedure described by Braun and Clarke (2006). Criterion sampling was used, in which recruitment efforts were focused on individuals who met specific inclusion criteria. Three themes emerged during data analysis as the major findings in this study, with participants describing the effects of early succession planning as primarily positive. An early and proper business succession plan will help alleviate issues by ensuring a smooth transition between the members. The results of this study provide increased knowledge of the effects that an early succession plan can have on the success and continuity of family businesses. Leaders of private or public-owned companies can use the study results in implementing succession planning strategies in organizations for the future continuity of businesses.
succession planning , family , business , family business