Special Issue on: “Business Transfers: An Opportunity for Dialogue between
Entrepreneurship and Family Business Research”
Prof. Didier Chabaud, IAE Paris Sorbonne Business School, France
Prof. Bérangère Deschamps, Grenoble-Alpes University, France
This special issue arises from a paradox. Business transfers (BTs) are a crucial economic and social topic, and “approximately 450,000 firms with 2 million employees are transferred each year across Europe” (European Commission, 2011). And yet, it is estimated that every year, “there is a risk of losing approximately 150,000 additional firms representing some 600,000 jobs due to inefficiencies in the business transfers system” (ibid.).
This topic is relevant not only to the European Union but also to the rest of the world, especially within the context of ageing societies (Kamei & Dana, 2012, Rautamäki & Römer-Paakkanen, 2016).
However, there seems to be a lack of interest from academia (Bastié et al., 2018). At the very least, there has not been a global approach to the phenomenon in academic literature. Family business transfer is a key topic in family business research (Sharma et al., 2003, Arregle & Mari, 2010), with scholars focusing on the family side after the transfer and emphasising that the connection between family and business evolves over time (Litz, 2008, Rautamäki & Römer-Paakkanen, 2016). A business takeover can also lead to a third/non-family party entering the family firm (De Massis et al., 2008, Scholes et al., 2008, 2009). The firm can be sold to non-family members of the management team, to external candidates or to another firm or listed on the stock exchange. Lastly, if the family retains the property, management can be delegated to non-family CEOs. So, it would be interesting to analyse the phenomenon from a global perspective by taking into account the diversity of paths of family firms when they are transferred, whether to family or non-family members. The decrease in family involvement is connected with entrepreneurial entry modes (Parker and Van Praag, 2012) and requires an investigation of the individual’s commitment (Van Teeffelen et al., 2014). This point builds a bridge between entrepreneurship and family business literature.
Moreover, the issue of business transfers has to be connected to entrepreneurship (Parker and Van Praag, 2012, Bastie et al. 2013). The newcomer has to manage his/her entry mode and renew the strategy on a regular basis.
The aim of this special issue is to provide a comprehensive overview of the research currently being carried out on business transfers, and to promote a dialogue between entrepreneurship and family business scholars. Its purpose is to establish the relation entrepreneurs, opportunity and context, which research refers to as the entrepreneurial situation. By going beyond a rational logic and moving towards a cognitive approach to entrepreneurial situations, researchers can explore the entrepreneurial situations of business transfers.
In order to improve scientific and public policy issues in business transfers, it is essential that insights on empirical and theoretical dimensions be provided. This special issue welcomes qualitative as well as quantitative and mixed methodologies, as long as they are well grounded in the literature. Please refer to the following articles:
- Dana, L.P. & Dumez, H. (2015) ‘Qualitative Research Revisited: Epistemology of a Comprehensive Approach,’ International Journal of Entrepreneurship & Small Business 26 (2), October 2015, pp. 154-170.
- Dana, L.P. & Dana, T.E. (2005) ‘Expanding the Scope of Methodologies Used in Entrepreneurship Research,’ International Journal of Entrepreneurship & Small Business 2 (1), 2005, pp. 79-88.
Suitable topics include, but are not limited, to the following:
- What does the data say? How important is this phenomenon?
- Will the European Union be affected by an increase in the number of BTs?
- Will there be a lack of external candidates to take over the firms?
- Do we need more transparency in the BT market? How can it be strengthened?
The determinants of decisions:
- In what way do family firms stop maintaining their family structure? And why does this happen?
- Can former family firms return to having a family structure? In what way do the individual and family
- dimensions interact with each other?
How can we tackle the BT process?
- Do we have to modify, complete or enrich the analysis of family succession processes?
- Can we provide a unified vision of BT processes or BT types (family business transfers, MBI, MBO, sibling succession, hybrid teams, SCOP, teams, etc.)?
- In what way do the former and the new CEO interact with each other? What is the role of counsellors in their relationships?
- How viable is the transferred firm?
- How do the individual and collective dimensions (e.g. internal and external stakeholders, mentors, business networks, personal networks, need for advisors) influence the process?
- What is the impact of BTs? How do BTs affect firms’ performance and modus operandi?
- How is the knowledge transferred?
- Is the culture (firm, industry, country) a parameter to compare the BT?
- In a cognitive approach, what are the actors’ representations and the gap of their perception (business model, knowledge, strategic vision, HR, etc.)?
Is there a profile of the new CEO after a BT?
- Is there a gender classification?
- Is there a serial BT entrepreneur?
- Is there a situation in which predecessors and successors stay together?
- What is the role of external advisors in that partition? What is the role of closed advisors (e.g. spouses, mothers)?
- Can we distinguish the external BT entrepreneur from the internal one?
Notes for Prospective Authors
Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. (N.B. Conference papers may only be submitted if the paper has been completely rewritten and if appropriate written permissions have been obtained from any copyright holders of the original paper).
All papers are refereed through a peer review process.
All papers must be submitted online. To submit a paper, please read our Submitting articles page.
- Manuscripts due by: 15 May, 2020
- Notification to authors: 15 July, 2020
- Final versions due by: 15 October, 2020