Entrepreneurial learning in multigenerational family business succession

Cherdchai, A. 2020. Entrepreneurial learning in multigenerational family business succession. PhD thesis University of Westminster Management and Marketing

TitleEntrepreneurial learning in multigenerational family business succession
TypePhD thesis
AuthorsCherdchai, A.

The most significant challenge faced by family businesses is to survive and carry on the legacy from one generation to the next. Within the extant body of literature, little known as to how entrepreneurial learning process could potentially help in multigenerational family businesses to succeed. The main purpose of this study is to explore the role of entrepreneurial learning contributing to the multigenerational family business succession. This study illuminates the relationship between entrepreneurial learning processes that forester the succession of intergenerational transition of family enterprise. In addition, the concept of co-creation is introduced to this study in order to further investigate the family business succession based on social theories. Further investigation of how entrepreneurial learning process may differ across the family business life cycle, and how co-creation is the key driver to create and transfer knowledge and at each succession point.

A conceptual framework of entrepreneurial learning in multigenerational family business proposal are based on life cycle process theory, which comprised of three major succession stages: Pre-succession stage, Planning and Managing succession stage and Post-succession stage. These three approaches will provide the theoretical lens to the understanding of the succession in multigenerational family business.

To enhance the purpose of this research, Pragmatism has been chosen for this study. Thus, it allows the research to move beyond the conceptual constraint imposed by interpretivist, positivism and realism, and adopt the most effective way of analysing the research problem, outside of the philosophical debate. Not only the pragmatist focuses on whether a proposition fit a particular ontology, but also align with the purpose and enable solutions. Interns of research methodology, this study adopted qualitative approach to explore this phenomenon. Primary qualitative data will be collected from five families owned businesses through semi-structure in-depth interviews with the incumbent, successors and family members.

Due to the deductive and inductive nature of this study, data were harvested and thematically analysed by coding into pre-existing categories suggested by the conceptual framework, whereas new themes have been emerged from these data. The study highlights the importance of exploring this phenomenon using successors as a unit of analysis, as opposed to the firm, in order to move the field forward. Future research should be testing the conceptual framework that emerged from this study in family business from other industries and context will lie within Asian culture countries.

In addition, research on the interception between entrepreneurial learning and family business succession still nascent in developing country context. Hence, Thailand has been selected as the preferred research geographical area. Since family business contributes play an important role in Thailand economy with an issue of decline in family business transition succession. This issue has led to further investigation in this region. This has implications for the competitions of firm overtime and largely consequence on growth, survival and innovation and the succession of generational transition.

In summary, the key finding shows that entrepreneurial learning is profound in family business succession process. Specifically, entrepreneurial learning activities derived from this research are demonstrated to be essential process in family business succession. Six fundamental entrepreneurial learning activities for multigenerational family business are discovered. By introducing a new concept such as co-creation into entrepreneurship and family business studies, it helps widen perspective in family business succession life cycle and process. Hence, this new concept will provide a powerful model to strengthen and support multigenerational family business transition in the future.

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