Abstract

Majority of family businesses fail to survive inter-generational ownership transition process (Aronoff, 1999). The next generation of family members, heirs, responsible for leading the business, either refuses to join the business or is not committed to continue the family entity (e.g. Kets de Vries, 1993). Family business owners with uncommitted heirs either discontinue their business or sell it. In cases, where uncommitted heirs assume leadership of the family entities, business performance declines that ultimately causes its demise. Therefore, heir’s commitment and intention to continue the family entity is critical for survival of such entities. But, why some heirs are more committed to family business and show higher intention to continue it while others don’t? Heirs, unlike business owners, have received significantly low attention in the inter-generational family business research. As a result there is a significant gap in understanding of this important issue. We turned to research in family studies and human resource management to address our research question. Drawing upon prior studies in family studies, we argue current business owners’ intention and commitment to family business influence heir’s intention and commitment (e.g. Sandra & McCartney, 1983). We also suggest that family values and decision making process influence heirs’ commitment and intention. Using human resource management theories, we link heirs’ commitment and intention to job characteristics and market opportunity.

Share

COinS