The Intervention Effects of Succession Planning on Offspring’s Willingness to Take over Family Businesses—An Experimental Study Based on Behavioral Decision-Making and Opportunity Cost Theories
Jiemei Yang, Jing Xi, Xiaohua Han
DOI: 10.4236/ajibm.2013.36061   PDF    HTML     4,609 Downloads   7,673 Views   Citations


The fact that offspring’s willingness to take over family business is extremely low is a severe problem hindering Chinese family businesses’ succession. This paper, based on behavioral decision-making theory and opportunity cost theory, identifies the decision-making attribute of offspring’s willingness to take over the business first, then explores and verifies the intervention effects of succession planning and temporal distance on such willingness. Experimental data from 135 samples indicate: offspring’s willingness to take over the business is significantly higher in the situation where parents develop a complete succession plan than in the situation where no succession plan is made; temporal distance moderates the effects of succession planning on offspring’s willingness. The study is supposed to provide theoretical evidence and practical suggestions for family business to promote offspring’s willingness to be the successor of family business.

Share and Cite:

J. Yang, J. Xi and X. Han, "The Intervention Effects of Succession Planning on Offspring’s Willingness to Take over Family Businesses—An Experimental Study Based on Behavioral Decision-Making and Opportunity Cost Theories," American Journal of Industrial and Business Management, Vol. 3 No. 6, 2013, pp. 531-538. doi: 10.4236/ajibm.2013.36061.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] L. P. Steier and D. Miller, “Preand Post-Succession Governance Philosophies in Entrepreneurial Family Firms,” Journal of Family Business Strategy, Vol. 1, No.3, 2010, pp. 145-154.
[2] China Private Economy Research Association Family Business Research Group, “Chinese Family Enterprises Development Report,” China CITIC Press, Beijing, 2011, pp. 45-46,248-267.
[3] J. J. Chrisman, J. H. Chua and P. Sharma, “Important Attributes of Successors in Family Businesses: An Exploratory Study,” Family Business Review, Vol. 11, No. 1, 1998, pp. 19-34.
[4] P. Sharma and P. G. Irving, “Four Bases of Family Business Successor Commitment: Antecedents and Consequences,” Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Vol. 29, No. 1, 2005, pp. 13-33.
[5] A. Bjornberg and N. Nicholson, “Emotional Ownership: The Next Generation’s Relationship with the Family Firm,” Family Business Review, Vol. 25, No. 4, 2012, pp. 374-390.
[6] Forbes Chinese net, “Forbes 2012 Chinese Family Business Survey Report,” 2012.
[7] T. E. Stavrou and S. P. Michael, “Securing the Future of the Family Enterprise: A Model of Offspring Intentions to Join the Business,” Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice, Vol. 23, 1998, pp. 19-39.
[8] T. Zellweger, P. Sieger and F. Halter, “Should I Stay or Should I Go? Career Choice Intentions of Students with Family Business Background,” Journal of Business Venturing, Vol. 26, No. 5, 2011, pp. 521-536.
[9] T. Geerts, “Willingness to Take Over the Family Business,” University of Maastricht, 2008
[10] A. L. Kristof, “Person-Organization Fit: An Integrative Review of Its Conceptualizations Measurement and Implications,” Personnel Psychology, Vol. 49, No. 1, 1996, pp. 1-49.
[11] C. Christensen, “Management Succession in Small and Growing Enterprises,” Harvard Business School, Boston 1953.
[12] T. Reuter, J. P. Ziegelmann, A. U. Wiedemann, C. Geiser, S. Lippke, B. Schuz and R. Schwarzer, “Changes in Intentions, Planning, and Self-Efficacy Predict Changes in Behaviors: An Application of Latent True Change Modeling,” Journal of Health Psychology, Vol. 15, No. 6, 2010, pp. 935-947.
[13] F. Chi, “The Exploration of Opportunity Cost Content, Expression and Use,” Journal of Changchun University of Science and Technology, Vol. 6, No. 11, 2011, pp. 27-28,42.
[14] P. Sharma, J. J. Chrisman, A. L. Pablo and J. H. Chua, “Determinants of Initial Satisfaction with the Succession Process in Family Firms: A Conceptual Model,” Entreprenuership Theory and Practice, Vol. 25, No. 3, 2001, pp. 17-35.
[15] P. Sharma, J. J. Chrisman and J. H. Chua, “Predictors of Satisfaction with the Succession Process in Family Firms,” Journal of Business Venturing, Vol. 18, No. 5, 2003, pp. 667-687.
[16] R. M. Dawes, “Behavioral Decision Making and Judgment,” In: T. Daniel, S. T. Fiske and G. Lindzey, Eds., The Handbook of Social Psychology, Vol. 1-2, 4th Edition, McGraw-Hill Gilbert, New York, 1998, pp. 497-548.
[17] X. Wang, C.-L. Yu and C.-B. Liu, “The Association Between Time Interval and Future Event Valence Mental Construal Process Perceptive,” Acta Psychologica Sinica, Vol. 6, No. 44, 2011, pp. 807-817.
[18] G. T. Lumpkin and K. H. Brigham, “Long-Term Orientation and Intertemporal Choice in Family Firms,” Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Vol. 35, No. 6, 2011, pp. 149-1169.
[19] T. Hubler, “Ten Most Prevalent Obstacles to Family-Business Succession Planning,” Family Business Review, Vol. 12, No. 2, 1999, pp. 117-122.
[20] I. Lansberg, “The Succession Conspiracy: Resistance to Succession Planning in First Generation Family,” Family Business Review, Vol. 1, No. 2, 1988, pp. 119-143.
[21] P. Sharma, J. J. Chrisman and J. H. Chua, “Succession Planning as Planned Behavior: Some Empirical Results,” Family Business Review, Vol. 16, No. 1, 2003, pp. 1-15.
[22] I. Stamm and C. Lubinski, “Crossroads of Family Business Research and Firm Demography—A Critical Assessment of Family Business Survival Rates,” Journal of Family Business Strategy, Vol. 7, No. 2, 2011, pp. 117-127.
[23] K. M. File and R. A. Prince, “Attribution for Family Business Failure: The Heir’s Perspective,” Family Business Review, Vol. 9, No. 2, 1996, pp. 171-184.
[24] Y. Trope and N. Liberman, “Temporal Construal,” Psychological Review, Vol. 110, No. 3, 2003, p. 403.
[25] R. Kuenster, “Business Succession Simplified,” Best’s Review (Life/Health), Vol. 89, No. 7, 1988, pp. 63-64.
[26] J. Cory, “Preparing Your Successor: Family Ownership,” Hardware Age, Vol. 227, No. 7, 1990, p. 74.
[27] M. H. Bazerman, “Negotiator Judgment: A Critical Look at the Rationality Assumption,” American Behavioral Scientist, Vol. 27, No. 2, 1983, pp. 211-228.
[28] W. O. Bearden, “A Measure of Long-Term Orientation: Development and Validation,” Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol. 34, No. 3, 2006, pp. 456-467.
[29] J.-S. Dou and S.-H. Jia, “Wishes of the Individual, the Family Commitment and Implementation of Family Business Succession Plan,” Management of Sun Yatsen, 2007, Vol. 2, No. 4, pp. 1-18.
[30] M. H. Morris, R. W. Williams and D. Nel, “Factors Influencing Family Business Succession,” International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research, 1996, Vol. 2, No. 3, pp. 68-81.
[31] B. Dyck, et al., “Passing the Baton: The Importance of Sequence, Timing, Technique and Communication in Executive Succession,” Journal of Business Venturing, 2002, Vol. 17, pp. 143-162.
[32] T. O’Donoghue and M. Rabin, “Take Action Now or Take Action in the Future?” In: C. F. Kai Mole, G. Lowenstein and M. Rabin, Ed., Behavioral Economics Progress, Renmin University Press, Beijing, 2010, pp. 261-293.
[33] J. P. Marshall, R. L. Sorenson, K. H. Brigham, E. Wieling, A. Reifman and R. Wampler, “The Paradox for the Family Firm CEO: Owner Age Relationship to Succession-Related Processes and Plans,” Journal of Business Venturing, Vol. 21, No. 3, 2006, pp. 348-368.

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.