We review and analyze previous literature on succession in family firms from an entrepreneurial process perspective. Through a three-step cluster analysis of 117 published articles on succession in family firms published between 1974 and 2010, we find several themes within which succession can be understood from an entrepreneurial process perspective where both the entry of new owners and exit of old owners are associated with the pursuit of new business opportunities. We identify gaps within each cluster and develop a set of research questions that may guide future research on succession as an entrepreneurial process. Since succession involves implications for individuals, families and firms, we suggest researchers should adopt a multilevel perspective as they seek answers to these research questions. Our review and analysis also underlines the need to focus on ownership transition rather than only management succession, and the importance of carefully defining both succession and family firm.
Related content: Working Paper No. 157
Nordqvist, M., Wennberg, K., Baù, M., & Hellerstedt, K. (2013). An entrepreneurial process perspective on succession in family firms. Small Business Economics, 40(4), 1087-1122.