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About this book

Family firm research has shown that the cooperative resolution of conflict between the incumbent entrepreneur and his successor is crucial for the survival of the family firm. Dispute resolution research suggests that a third party acting as mediator can provide valuable support to their efforts. Father to Son synthesizes insights from both lines of research to propose when, and how, mediation can contribute to the resolution of family firm succession conflicts. It offers a clear framework to guide family firm members, as well as their advisors, through the succession process.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Family firms are among the most prevalent forms of business in many countries of the world. They are believed to account for more than 50% of the gross domestic product of the world’s most advanced economies. In Switzerland, for instance, the Swiss Institute for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises at the University of St. Gallen found family enterprises to dominate the economy. Family firms are estimated to make up 88% of all enterprises in the country. However, it is difficult to compare numbers across countries.
Hans-Georg Berkel

Chapter 2. The Three Dilemmas of Succession

The three dilemmas of succession will subsequently be explored as follows. Section 2.2. analyzes the nature of the family firm by looking at the different roles that individuals play in the organization. Section 2.3 shows that these roles often impose conflicting demands on the individuals, thereby leading to the fundamental dilemma of the family business, and explores the role dilemmas that arise between individuals during succession. Section 2.4 demonstrates that the same dilemmas are also experienced internally by the individuals in the firm.
Hans-Georg Berkel

Chapter 3. The Three Dimensions of Succession Conflict

The previous chapter demonstrated that succession is the attempt by incumbent and successor to jointly overcome the described dilemmas. Being committed to succession, therefore, means being committed to that joint process. Chapter 3 will analyze factors that can weaken, or strengthen, this commitment. It will then show that dialogue can establish common commitment. If there is not common commitment, succession conflict will emerge, and each dilemma will lead to a specific aspect of succession conflict.
Hans-Georg Berkel

Chapter 4. The Three Elements of Third Party Intervention

Chapter 4 will show the constructive roles that can be played by a third party to support incumbent and successor in resolving their conflict. In line with the goal of this dissertation, the chapter will then focus on mediation and explore when and how mediation can be used to resolve succession conflicts.
Hans-Georg Berkel

Chapter 5. Conclusion

In the introduction to the dissertation it was emphasized that due to the absence of any established theories regarding the research question as well as to the research methodology employed herein, the findings of the dissertation can only be formulated as propositions that require testing. As the last chapter of the dissertation, Chapter 5 draws these propositions from the insights gained in the dissertation.
Hans-Georg Berkel

Backmatter

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