Competitive Advantage in Long-Lived Family Firms: Implications of Market Characteristics and Strategically Relevant Knowledge

  • Britta BoydEmail author
  • Susanne Royer
  • Toshio Goto


Literature concerning intra-family succession versus non-family succession is still limited. As a result, we know relatively little about the impact of an internal succession on keeping strategically relevant knowledge inside the business. Consequently, this chapter’s primary research interest is the interplay between market context and strategically relevant knowledge resources in long-lived family firms. Based on the market-based view and resource theory, we suggest that in some market environments, family-business-specific experiential knowledge forms a basis for competitive advantage and that such knowledge can be transferred to internal successors easier than to external successors. Several propositions are developed and discussed in relation to six case studies of long-lived family businesses from different market contexts. As a result, we put forward four revised propositions for future research to investigate.


Knowledge Family business Competitive advantage Market context Case studies 



We would like to thank Tomasz Olejniczak from Kozminski University for his helpful comments and the interview partners for their willingness to share information and knowledge about their businesses with us. Finally, we thank Christin Lemcke for assisting us regarding the data collection in the investigated industries.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Entrepreneurship and Relationship ManagementUniversity of Southern DenmarkSønderborgDenmark
  2. 2.International Institute of ManagementEuropa-Universität FlensburgFlensburgGermany
  3. 3.Faculty of ManagementJapan University of EconomicsTokyoJapan

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