This study maps and analyzes the scientific research networks of family business succession. We examine coauthors’ activities in terms of not only productivity but also their importance to the coauthorship network. The most influential contributors and universities, as well as their research networks and theoretical underpinnings, are discussed. The review examines 661 articles published by 1105 authors in 224 academic journals indexed in the Social Science Citation Index and Scopus between 1939 and 2017. We used a bibliometric approach based on coauthorship analysis to measure cooperation. The results show that family business succession research is characterized by high fragmentation in the authors’ collaboration in general, but the leading scholars are strongly interconnected. We map and analyze the most influential networks by identifying the most important topics studied, the theoretical and methodological approaches employed, the scope of the research conducted, and where it has been published. Most of the identified networks are in North America and Europe, and most are not theoretically or methodologically specialized.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Acedo, F. J., Barroso, C., Casanueva, C., & Galan, J. L. (2006). Co-authorship in management and organizational studies: An empirical and network analysis. Journal of Management Studies, 43(1), 957–983.
Aleixandre, J. L., Aleixandre-Tudó, J. L., Bolaños-Pizarro, M., & Aleixandre-Benavent, R. (2015). Global trends in scientific production in enology and viticulture in selected emerging economies (BRIC). Scientometrics, 103(2), 649–668.
Allouche, J., Amann, B., Jaussaud, J., & Kurashina, T. (2008). The impact of family control on the performance and financial characteristics of family versus nonfamily businesses in Japan: A matched-pair investigation. Family Business Review, 21(1), 315–330.
Applegate, J. (1994). Keep your firm in the family. Money, 23, 88–91.
Aragón-Amonarriz, C., Arredondo, A. M., & Iturrioz-Landart, C. J. (2017). How can responsible family ownership be sustained across generations? A family social capital approach. Journal of Business Ethics. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-017-3728-7.
Ayres, G. R. (1990). Rough family justice: Equity in family business succession planning. Family Business Review, 3(1), 3–22.
Barnett, A. H., Ault, R. W., & Kaserman, D. L. (1988). The rising incidence of co-authorship in economics: Further evidence. Review of Economics and Statistics, 70(3), 539–543.
Benavides-Velasco, C., Quintana-García, C., & Guzmán-Parra, V. (2013). Trends in family business research. Small Business Economics, 40(1), 41–57.
Brockhaus, R. H. (2004). Family business succession: Suggestions for future research. Family Business Review, 17(1), 165–177.
Cabrera-Suarez, K. (2005). Leadership transfer and the successor's development in the family firm. The Leadership Quarterly, 16(1), 71–96.
Casillas, J., & Acedo, F. (2007). Evolution of the intellectual structure of family business literature: A bibliometric study of FBR. Family Business Review, 20(1), 141–162.
Chalus-Sauvannet, M.-C., Deschamps, B., & Cisneros, L. (2016). Unexpected succession: When children return to take over the family business. Journal of Small Business Management, 54(2), 714–731.
Chrisman, J. J., Chua, J. H., & Sharma, P. (1998). Important attributes of successors in family businesses: An exploratory study. Family Business Review, 11, 19–34.
Cisneros, L., & Deschamps, B. (2015). The role of advisors and the sequence of their actions in sibling team succession. M@n@gement, 18(4), 282–308.
Cohen, A., & Sharma, P. (2016). Entrepreneurs in every generation: How successful family businesses develop their next leaders. Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
Daspit, J. J., Holt, D. T., Chrisman, J. J., & Long, R. G. (2016). Examining family firm succession from a social exchange perspective: A multiphase, multistakeholder review. Family Business Review, 29(1), 44–64.
De Massis, A., Chua, J. H., & Chrisman, J. (2008). Factors preventing intra-family succession. Family Business Review, 21(2), 183–199.
Debicki, B., Matherne, C., Kellermanns, F., & Chrisman, J. (2009). Family business research in the new millennium. Family Business Review, 22(1), 151–166.
Drozdow, N. (1986). Managing relationships in the family business. Agency Sales Magazine, 16(10), 35–39.
Evert, R. E., Martin, J. A., McLeod, M. S., & Payne, G. T. (2016). Empirics in family business research: Progress, challenges, and the path ahead. Family Business Review, 29(1), 17–43.
Finardi, U., & Buratti, A. (2016). Scientific collaboration framework of BRICS countries: An analysis of international co-authorship. Scientometrics, 109(1), 433–446.
Gersick, K., Davis, J., McCollon Hampton, M., & Lansberg, I. (1997). Generation to generation: Life cycles of the family business. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
Gomez-Mejia, L., Nuñez-Nickel, M., & Gutierrez, I. (2001). The role of family ties in agency contracts. The Academy of Management Journal, 44(1), 81–95.
Handler, W. C. (1990). Succession in family firms: A mutual role adjustment between entrepreneur and next generation family members. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 15(1), 37–51.
Handler, W. C. (1994). Succession in family businesses: A review of the research. Family Business Review, 7(2), 133–157.
Handler, W. C., & Kram, K. E. (1988). Succession in family firms: The problem of resistance. Family Business Review, 1(4), 361–381.
Holt, D. T., Rutherford, M. W., & Kuratko, D. F. (2010). Advancing the field of family business research: Further testing the measurement properties of the F-PEC. Family Business Review, 23(1), 76–88.
Hoy, F., & Sharma, P. (2009). Entrepreneurial family firms. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Ibanescu, M., Cisneros, L., Lobato, O. Niebla, J., & Cherchem, N. (2016). An overview of family business succession research: A bibliometric study. The 12th Annual Family Enterprise Research Conference, June 2–4, Fundação Dom Cabral, Nova Lima (Mg) – Brazil.
Jaskiewicz, P., Combs, J. G., & Rau, S. B. (2015). Entrepreneurial legacy: Toward a theory of how some family firms nurture transgenerational entrepreneurship. Journal of Business Venturing, 30(1), 29–49.
Kets de Vries, M. F. R. (1993). The dynamics of family controlled firms: The good and the bad news. Organizational Dynamics, 21(3), 59–71.
Kuhn, T. S. (1962). The structure of scientific revolutions. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.
Laband, D. N. (1985). Publishing favouritism: A critique of department rankings based on quantitative publishing performance. Southern Economic Journal, 52(2), 510–515.
Laband, D. N., & Tollison, R. D. (2000). Intellectual collaboration. Journal of Political Economy, 108(3), 632–662.
Lam, W. (2011). Dancing to two tunes: Multi-entity roles in the family business succession process. International Small Business Journal, 29(5), 508–533.
Lansberg, I. (1988). The succession conspiracy. Family Business Review, 1(2), 119–143.
Lansberg, I. (1999). Succeeding generations: Realizing the dream of families in business. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
Lansberg, I., & Astrachan, J. H. (1994). Influence of family relationships on succession planning and training: The importance of mediating factors. Family Business Review, 7(1), 39–59.
Le Breton-Miller, I., Miller, D., & Steier, I. (2004). Toward an integrative model of effective FOB succession. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 28(1), 305–328.
Le Play, M. F. (1871). L’organisation de la famille. Paris: Alfred Mame et fils, Libraires-Editeurs.
Long, R. G., & Chrisman, J. J. (2014). Management succession in family business. In L. Melin, M. Nordqvist, & P. Sharma (Eds.), SAGE handbook of family business. London: Sage Publications.
Lowrie, A., & McKnight, P. J. (2004). Academic research networks: A key to enhancing scholarly standing. European Management Journal, 22(4), 345–360.
Luo, J. D. (2005). Social network structure and performance of improvement teams. International Journal of Business Performance Management, 7(2), 208–223.
McDowell, J. M., & Amacher, R. C. (1986). Economic value of an in-house editorship. Public Choice, 48(2), 101–112.
Melin, G., & Persson, O. (1996). Studying research collaboration using co-authorships. Scientometrics, 36(3), 363–377.
Michel, A., & Kammerlander, N. (2015). Trusted advisors in a family business’s succession-planning process—an agency perspective. Journal of Family Business Strategy, 6(1), 45–57.
Miller, D., Steier, L., & Le Breton-Miller, I. (2003). Lost in time: Intergenerational succession, change, and failure in family business. Journal of Business Venturing, 18(4), 513–531.
Moody, J. (2004). The structure of a social science collaboration network: Disciplinary cohesion from 1963 to 1999. American Sociological Review, 69(1), 213–238.
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.
Piette, M. J., & Ross, K. L. (1992). A study of the publication of scholarly output in economics journals. Eastern Economic Journal, 18(4), 429–436.
Ramos-Rodriguez, A., & Ruiz-Navarro, J. (2004). Changes in the intellectual structure of strategic management research: A bibliometric study of the strategic management journal, 1980–2000. Strategic Management Journal, 25(10), 981–1004.
Rashman, L., Withers, E., & Hartley, J. (2009). Organizational learning and knowledge in public service organizations: A systematic review of the literature. International Journal of Management Reviews, 11(4), 463–494.
Rutherford, M. W., Kuratko, D. F., & Holt, D. T. (2008). Examining the link between “familiness” and performance: Can the F-PEC untangle the family business theory jungle? Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 32(6), 1089–1109.
Saggese, S., Sarto, F., & Cuccurullo, C. (2015). Evolution of the debate on control enhancing mechanisms: A systematic review and bibliometric analysis. International Journal of Management Reviews, 18(4), 417–439.
Sarto, F., Cuccurullo, C., & Aria, M. (2014). Exploring healthcare governance literature: Systematic review and paths for future research. MECOSAN, 23(1), 61–80.
Sharma, P. (2004). An overview of the field of family business studies: Current status and directions for the future. Family Business Review, 17(1), 1–36.
Sharma, P., Chrisman, J. J., & Chua, J. H. (1997). Strategic management of the family business: Past research and future challenges. Family Business Review, 10(1), 1–35.
Sharma, P., Chrisman, J. J., & Gersick, K. E. (2012). 25 years of family business review: Reflections on the past and perspectives for the future. Family Business Review, 25(1), 5–15.
Sharma, P., Chrisman, J. J., Pablo, A., & Chua, J. H. (2001). Determinants of initial satisfaction with the succession process in family firms: A conceptual model. International Association for Business and Society. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 25(3), 17–35.
Sharma, P., Chua, J. H., & Chrisman, J. J. (2000). Perceptions about the extent of succession planning in Canadian family firms. Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences, 17(3), 233–244.
Sharma, P., Hoy, F., Astrachan, J. H., & Koiranen, M. (2007). The practice driven evolution of family business education. Journal of Business Research, 60, 1012–1021.
Sonnenfeld, J. A., & Spence, P. L. (1989). The parting patriarch of a family firm. Family Business Review, 2(4), 355–375.
Stern, M. H. (1986). Inside the family-held business: A practical guide for entrepreneurs and their advisors. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
Strike, V. M. (2012). Advising the family firm: Reviewing the past to build the future. Family Business Review, 25(2), 156–177.
Subramanyam, K. (1983). Bibliometric studies of research collaboration: A review. Journal of Information Science, 6(1), 33–38.
Swagger, G. (1991). Assessing the successor generation in family businesses. Family Business Review, 4(4), 397–411.
Tagiuri, R., & Davis, J. A. (1992). On the goals of successful family companies. Family Business Review, 5, 43–62.
Tatoglu, E., Kula, V., & Glaister, K. W. (2008). Succession planning in family-owned businesses: Evidence from Turkey. International Small Business Journal, 26, 155–180.
Van der Leij, M., & Goyal, S. (2006). Strong ties in a small world. Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper No. 2006-008/1. https://ssrn.com/abstract=875350. Accessed 20 May 2018.
Ward, J. L. (1987). Keeping the family business healthy. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Ward, J. L., & Handy, J. L. (1988). A survey of board practices. Family Business Review, 1, 289–308.
Xi, J., Kraus, S., Filser, M., & Kellermanns, F. W. (2015). Mapping the field of family business research: Past trends and future directions. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 11(1), 113–132.
Yoshikane, F., Nozawa, T., Shibui, S., & Suzukid, T. (2009). An analysis of the connection between researchers’ productivity and their co-authors’ past attributions, including the importance in collaboration networks. Scientometrics, 79(2), 435–449.
Yoshikane, F., Nozawa, T., & Tsuji, K. (2006). Comparative analysis of co-authorship networks considering authors’ roles in collaboration: Differences between the theoretical and application areas. Scientometrics, 68(3), 643–655.
Zellweger, T. M., Nason, R. S., & Nordqvist, M. (2012). From longevity of firms to transgenerational entrepreneurship of families: Introducing family entrepreneurial orientation. Family Business Review, 25(2), 136–155.
Zhai, Q., Su, J., & Ye, M. (2014). Focus on China: The current status of entrepreneurship research in China. Scientometrics, 98(3), 1985–2006.
The authors would like to thank the students and researchers (Catherine S. Beaucage, Charles Boustany, Naïma Cherchem, Ruxandra Ionita, Claudia Angélica Rodríguez Hernández) for their contribution to this research.
About this article
Cite this article
Cisneros, L., Ibanescu, M., Keen, C. et al. Bibliometric study of family business succession between 1939 and 2017: mapping and analyzing authors’ networks. Scientometrics 117, 919–951 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-018-2889-1
- Family business succession
- Bibliometric study
- Network analysis
- Scholar networks