Founder Leadership Succession in Family-Owned SME’s: A Case of HC-Co

Bruce, N
(2019) Founder Leadership Succession in Family-Owned SME’s: A Case of HC-Co. Doctor of Business Administration thesis, University of Liverpool.

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RESEARCH QUESTION The lead researcher, with his wife, owned a UK-based healthcare company, HC-Co, which they were planning to retire from. However, academic research indicated that 72% of UK companies failed to successfully transition to second-generation leadership, and they recognised they had little understanding as to why this was. For both themselves, their staff and clients, it was vital the transition was successful. They therefore needed to close this knowledge gap, which they sought to do by addressing the research question: What are the drivers of founder-leadership succession within family-owned SME’s that may relate to HC-Co. RESEARCH APPROACH Building on the findings of a literature review, the lead researcher undertook a Participatory Action Research process with a representative twelve participant-researchers, drawn from the company’s employees and professional advisors, to address the research question. Through a number of iterations, they assessed what the drivers of success and failure were generally for family-owned SME’s, and specifically in regard to HC-Co. They also considered which succession models or frameworks might be useful in this regard. FINDINGS A number of drivers were identified, some of which were relevant to the whole succession process, whilst others were limited to specific phases: i.e. pre-succession, succession, and post-succession. These drivers were compared and contrasted against a leadership-succession framework synthesised from the literature and segmented by resource-based-view type (Barney, 1991). This framework was also used as the basis for assessing how these drivers might apply to HC-Co, and which were found to be moderated by cultural and other company-specific factors. THEORETICAL AND PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS The drivers were useful in identifying those issues that may promote or prevent a founder leadership succession, and which should therefore be planned for, mitigated or monitored. However, cultural and other factors meant that how and to what degree they applied required specific analysis from the perspective of each company considering a leadership transition.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Business Administration)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Founder leadership succession, Family-owned SME's, Participatory Action Research
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Management
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2019 12:41
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2023 00:21
DOI: 10.17638/03059866
  • Sarma, Meera
  • Sambrook, Sally