How does an intra-family succession effect strategic change and performance in China’s family firms?

  • Jing Zhao
  • Michael Carney
  • Shubo Zhang
  • Limin Zhu


Motivated by the sparse literature on succession dynamics in China and other transitional markets we consider the effects of initiating an intra-family leadership succession on firm strategic change and performance on a sample of publicly listed family firms from China. Grounded in upper echelons theory we find that the initiation of a succession process leads to significant strategic change. Based on generational differences between founders and successors we find the succession-strategic change relationship is positively moderated by a successor’s international education. We also consider the strategic change to performance relationship.


Family firms Strategic change Succession Foriegn education Performance 



This research is funded by Chinese National Natural Science Foundation, project number 71472176 and 71372200; and also funded by Renmin University of China Research Foundation, project number 2017030057. The second author also acknowledges the financial support of the Canadian Social Science and Humanities Research Council Award number 890-2014-0098.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Jing Zhao
    • 1
  • Michael Carney
    • 2
  • Shubo Zhang
    • 3
  • Limin Zhu
    • 1
  1. 1.School of BusinessRenmin University of ChinaBeijingChina
  2. 2.John Molson School of BusinessConcordia UniversityWest MontréalCanada
  3. 3.School of AccountancyThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong

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