Proceedings

PR – PEOPLE OF FUTURE AGRICULTURE: TRUST AND SUCCESSION IN FAMILY BUSINESSES

Bell, C.


Abstract

Intergenerational transfer, or succession, is often a goal for family businesses in general, and family farms in particular. This challenging objective is aided or hindered by interpersonal trust between family members. The purpose of this study is to gain an understanding of the role of trust in succession so that those involved can observe the intergenerational behavioral patterns and estimate the source of trust/mistrust, or they can evaluate the trust issues and predict what behavioral patterns to expect. This meta study of the qualitative research literature on family businesses and succession revealed recurring patterns of intergenerational behavior as it relates to the essential component of trust. Character and competence influence the ability of business founders/predecessors and their children/successors to work within an area of trust, shaping intergenerational relationships and producing characteristic family business behavior patterns. Four typical interactive patterns include long-term stability, authoritarian rule, nepotism and sibling rivalry. Family member trust directly affects, and is affected by, family relationships, which, in turn influence both business performance, and the likelihood of successful intergenerational succession for the business itself.

Keywords: family business, succession, trust, nepotism, sibling rivalry

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Author(s): Bell, C.

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Organizations(s): California Southern University