Succession Planning in the Small Business: The Good and the Bad

  • Donna M. Kjellander


Succession planning creates the opportunity for a family-owned business to continue for future generations. Second-generation children fail to sustain the business 35% of the time because of a lack of succession planning. Succession planning is unique for small business owners owing to the element of family dynamics and the possibilities of there being no family or no family members interested in owning the business. This chapter will explore the options for a family-owned business for succession planning, exploring and handling family dynamics, and whether to consider an internal or external candidate along with recommended ideas for training successors.


  1. Bagby, R. T. (2004). Enhancing succession research in the family firm: A commentary on “Toward an integrative model of effective FOB succession”. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 28(4), 329–333. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baldner, G. (2005). Effective succession planning: Should you keep leadership in the family? Franchising World, 37(2), 79–80. Retrieved from
  3. Barrett, A. (2016). Study: Does CEO succession planning disclosure matter? The Corporate Governance Advisor, 24(3), 20–23. Retrieved from
  4. Brown, B., & Coverley, R. (1999). Succession planning in family businesses: A study from East Anglia, U.K. Journal of Small Business Management, 37(1), 93–97. Retrieved from
  5. Charan, R. (2009). Ending the CEO succession crisis. Harvard Business Review, 83(2), 72–81. Retrieved from
  6. Dattner, B., & Chammorro-Premuzic, T. (2016, September 15). A CEO’s personality can undermine succession planning. Harvard Business Review, 2–5. Retrieved from
  7. Ghee, W. Y., Ibrahim, M. D., & Abdul-Halim, H. (2015). Family business succession planning: Unleashing the key factor of business performance. Asian Academy of Management Journal, 20(2), 103–126. Retrieved from
  8. Giarmarco, J. (2012, March). The three levels of family business succession planning. Journal of Financial Service Professionals, 66(2), 59–69. Retrieved from
  9. Groves, K. S. (2007). Integrating leadership development and succession planning best practices. Journal of Management Development, 26(3), 239–260. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hodes, B. (2014). That dog don’t hunt. Leadership Excellence Essentials, 35–36. Retrieved from
  11. Koffi, V., Guihur, I., Morris, T., & Fillion, G. (2014). Family business succession: How men and women predecessors can bring credibility to their successors? Entrepreneurial Executive, 19, 67–85. Retrieved from
  12. Lauterbach, B., Vu, J., & Weisberg, J. (1999). Internal vs. external succession and their effect on firm performance. Human Relations, 52(12), 1485–1504. Google Scholar
  13. Nawrocki, T. (2005). Family affair: The emotional issues of succession planning. Journal of Financial Planning, 34–39. Retrieved from
  14. Pike’s Fish Market. (n.d.-b).
  15. Sims, D. M. (2014, August). 5 ways to increase success in succession planning. Training and Development, 68(8), 60–65. Retrieved from
  16. Small Business Administration. (n.d.).
  17. Wolosky, H. W. (2003, May). Succession planning: Can a family member cut it? Practical Accountant, 36(5), 38–40. Retrieved from
  18. Zahrani, M. A., Nikmaram, S., & Latifi, M. (2014, July). Impact of family business characteristics on succession planning: A case study in Tehran industrial towns. Iranian Journal of Management Studies, 7(2), 229–243. Retrieved from

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donna M. Kjellander
    • 1
  1. 1.California University of PennsylvaniaCaliforniaUSA

Personalised recommendations