Case Studies on Succession Planning in Family Business


  • R. M. P. N. Somaratne
  • V. G. G. G. Karunasena University of Kelaniya


Succession Planning, Successor, Family Business


Family businesses provide self-employment and are a viable solution for unemployment issues in a country whether developed or is developing. However only a very few family businesses are able to with stand the pressure and challenges during and after the transfer of the business to the next generation. Hence systematic succession planning is imperative for sustainable success of a family business. The study has focused on identifying barriers and supporting factors that affect succession planning of family businesses by presenting three case studies of three family businesses in Sri Lanka. These businesses have been in the business for at least two generations. Two of the cases represent successful transfer while one represents an unsuccessful transfer. Finding of the study has been used to develop a set of guidelines supporting successful succession planning in family businesses.


Barry Ip, Gabriel Jacobs, (2006) "Business succession planning: a review of the evidence", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 13 (3), 326 – 350.

Brockhaus Robert H., (June 2004), “Family Business Succession: Suggestions for Future Researchâ€, Family Business Review, 17(2), 165–177.

Cromie, S., Adams, J., Dunn, B. and Reid, R. (1999), “Family firms in Scotland and Northern

Ireland: an empirical investigationâ€, Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 6 (3), 253-66.

Danco, L. A. Quoted in Gersik, K. E. (1994). Reflections on the family business literature: Pioneers look to the past and future. Family Business Review, 7(2), 199–205.

Davis, P. S., & Harveston, P. D., (1998), “The influence of family on business succession process: A multigenerational perspectiveâ€, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 22(3), 31–53.

Dawley, D., Hoffman, J. and Smith, A. (2004), “Leader succession: does gender matter?â€, The Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 25 (8), 678-90

Duh. M, Polona T., Miroslav R., (2009) "Growth ambitions and succession solutions in family businesses", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 16 (2), 256 – 269.

Dyck, B., Mauws, M., Starke, F. and Mischke, G. (2002), “Passing the baton: the importance of Sequence, timing, technique and communication in executive successionâ€, Journal of Business Venturing, 17 (2), 143-62.

European Commission (EC) (2002), “Final Report of the Expert Group on the Transfer of SMEs, EC, Brussels and Mayâ€, available at: http:// comm/ enterprise/ entrepreneurship/ support_measures/ transfer_business/ best_project.htm (accessed July 9 2012).

Handler,W. C., (1992), “The succession experience of the next-generationâ€, Family Business Review, 5(3), 283–307.

Ibrahim, A.B., Soufani, K. and Lam, J. (2001). “A Study of succession in a family firmâ€, Family Business Review, 14 (3), 245–258.

Kansikas Juha and Kuhmonen Tuomas. (September 2008), “Family Business Succession: Evolutionary Economics Approachâ€, Journal of Enterprising Culture, 16 (3), 279-298.

Kesner, I.F. & Sebora, T.C. (1994), “Executive succession: Past, Present & Futureâ€, Journal of Management, 20 (2), 327

Kets de Vries, M. (1993), “The dynamics of family controlled firms: the good and the bad newsâ€, Organizational Dynamics, winter, 59-71.

Korunka, C., Frank, H., Lueger, M. and Mugler, J., (2003), “The entrepreneurial personality in the context of resources, environment and the startup process — a configurational Approachâ€, Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice, (27), 23–42.

Martin, L. (2001), “More jobs for the boys? Succession planning in SMEsâ€, Women in Management Review, 16 (5), 222-231.

Mazzola, P., Marchisio, G. and Astrachan, J.A. (2006). Using the strategic planning process as a next-generation training tool in family business. In P.Z. Poutziouris, K.X. Smyrnios, & S.B. Klein, (eds.), Handbook of Research on Family Business (Edward Elgar: Cheltenham UK), 402–421.

Miller, D., Steier, L. and Le Breton-Miller, I. (2003), “Lost in time: intergenerational succession, change, and failure in family businessâ€, Journal of Business Venturing, 18 (4), 513-31.

Morris, M.H., Williams, R.O., Allen, J.A. and Avila, R.A. (1997), “Correlates of success in family business transitionsâ€, Journal of Business Venturing, 12 (5), 385-401.

Paula D. Harveston; Davis, Peter S.; Lyden, (December 1997), “Succession Planning in Family Business: The Impact of Owner Genderâ€, Family Business Review, 10 (4), 373-396.

Schwendinger B, (2011), “A Methodology to Explore Family Business Successionâ€, International Journal of Management Cases, 8, 34 -41.

Sharma, P., Chrisman, J. J., & Chua, J. H. (2003). “Succession Planning as Planned Behavior: Some Empirical Resultsâ€. Family Business Review, 16(1), 1-15.

Solomon, A., Breunlin, D., Panattoni, K., Gustafson, M., Ransburg, D., Ryan, C., & Terrien, J. (2011). “Don't lock me out': Life-story interviews of family business owners facing successionâ€, Family Process, 50(2), 149-166.

Sonnenfeld, J. (1988). The hero’s farewell:What happens when CEOs retire.NewYork:Oxford University Press.

Trow, D. (1961), “Executive succession in small companiesâ€, Administrative Science Quarterly, 6 (2), 228-39.

Ward, J. L. (2004). Perpetuating the family business. 50 lessons learned from long-lasting, successful families in business. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.




How to Cite

Somaratne, R. M. P. N., & Karunasena, V. G. G. G. (2014). Case Studies on Succession Planning in Family Business. Asian Journal of Business and Management, 2(5). Retrieved from