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Conference Proceeding

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Next Generation Development, Work experience, Family Business Continuity


Family business owners often receive the advice that for a next generation to succeed they need to work outside the firm. This suggestion is often based on personal beliefs from those offering the advice given that there is no empirical work that can help support this claim. To explore whether working outside the family firm makes for more successful future family business leaders, we conducted in-depth interviews with members of 11 successful family businesses. Our focus was on understanding what type of experiences (i.e., outside the firm and/or inside the firm) next generation members were exposed to and how this experience helped them learn so they could succeed in managing the family firm. Our findings indicate that working outside the family business can be useful in developing personal and general capabilities. However, it can also create challenges as next generations join the business. At the same time, working inside the business can provide important insights into the family, the business, help acquire tacit knowledge about the business, and develope credibility within the family firm. We discuss implications of our observations and ideas for future research.


Presented at IFERA 2021 Annual Conference

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