Succession in Multi-Generational Family Firms: An Exploratory Study into the Period of Anticipatory Socialization

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Family business scholars have argued that succession entails all actions and events that occur between generations to transfer ownership and/or management. Building on this definition, I focus explicitly on the period prior to the successor’s entering the business. I borrow the concept of “anticipatory socialization” from organizational so-ciologists and argue that this period has unique characteristics in multi-generational family firms mainly because of the close link between the successor’s choice of occu-pation and his or her choice of organization. In an explorative historical case study I investigate the unique features of anticipatory socialization in family firms. My find-ings include a detailed description of the information channels and social capital transfers during that period as well as an assessment of the role of narrations, symbol-ic objects, and formal and informal education. In the last part of the paper, I link these findings to Pierre Bourdieu’s capital theory, which allows for a more systematic ap-proach to anticipatory socialization in family business.
Original languageEnglish
JournalElectronic Journal of Family Business Studies
Issue number1-2
Pages (from-to)4-25
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

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