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ABSTRACT. This study investigates the relationship between managerial characteristics and succession planning in family businesses. Data was obtained from the owner-managers of 883 small and medium-sized family businesses in nine diverse countries, and was statistical tested using hierarchal regression. Regression analysis identified four characteristic variables significantly related to succession planning: 1) a shared decision-making management style, 2) a focus on strategic management, 3) the use of sophisticated financial management, and 4) consideration of going public. These findings are analyzed, and implications are presented for family business owner/managers, for advisors to such firms, and for researchers in the field. The major contribution of this research study is that it investigates family business succession, in a multinational context, with a focus on planning for succession rather than on the process of the actual succession, which has been the focus of most prior research. pp. 1–39

Keywords: entrepreneurship; family business; international
JEL: D1; F66; L26

Matthew C. Sonfield
Hofstra University
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Robert N. Lussier
Springfield College
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