On Friday 31 August Kajsa Haag successfully defended her doctoral thesis in Business Administration at Jönköping International Business School.
The thesis, entitled “Rethinking family business succession — From a problem to solve to an ongoing practice", suggests a new way of thinking about family business succession. It poses an alternative to the common view of succession as something problematic, separate and extraordinary to handle in order to carry on with the business. To view succession as a practice opens up new understanding of succession as a continuing flow of activities embedded in the everyday life of business families instead of a problem to overcome through succession planning.
“When interacting with family businesspersons I found very little of the formal succession planning activities commonly prescribed in the literature, instead succession was indirectly incorporated in core activities such as production, customer relations and product development. What mattered to them was developing their business together, not things as positions and ownership structures", says Kajsa Haag.
The study shows how succession evolves as family members are socialized, engaged and trained through the durée of daily life. Beyond that, it shows how succession is not just about handing the business over from one generation to the next. It is also about working together in the moment, developing the business while preserving its essence. Engaging in the family business to be part of developing it is fundamentally different from joining because transfer of leadership and/or ownership is needed. It questions the idea of succession as a purpose in itself and suggests a shift from “taking over" to “being part".
Faculty opponent at the defence was Professor Denise Fletcher, University of Luxembourg. The examining committee consisted of Associate Professor Carlo Salvato, Bocconi University, Italy, Professor Anders W Johansson, Linnaeus University, and Professor Ethel Brundin, JIBS. Chairperson at the defence was Professor Leif Melin (main tutor).
Kajsa Haag. Tel. + 46 (0) 36 10 18 35 Mobile. + 46 (0) 70 838 85 20