Original Research

The determinants of the readiness to let go among senior generation owner-managers of small and medium-sized family businesses

Stephan P van der Merwe
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 13, No 3 | a101 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v13i3.101 | © 2010 Stephan P van der Merwe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 August 2010 | Published: 10 September 2010

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Stephan P van der Merwe, Potchefstroom Business School, South Africa

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The objective of this study was to assess the determinants of the readiness of the senior generation owner-managers to finally transfer the management and control of the family business to the younger generation. Data from 504 questionnaires linked to 81 family businesses were collected and analysed. An Oblimin oblique rotation was carried out on the principal components of the exploratory factor analysis. Five factors with eigen-values greater than one, explaining 62.64 per cent of the variance, were extracted. These five factors describing the theoretical dimensions of the dependent variable were: the senior generation owner-manager’s readiness to let go, and the independent variables of retirement planning, perceived suitability of the successor, estate planning, and the perceived liquidity of the business after the transfer. No significant practical differences relating to these five factors could be found between the perceptions of male and female respondents, the senior and younger generation family members or family members involved in medium-sized or small businesses. Practical recommendations are suggested to ensure a smooth final transfer of the management and control of the business to the younger generation family members.


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1. Family Business Succession: What’s Motivation Got to Do With It?
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