Application of Grey Clusters in the Development of A Synthetic Model of the Goals of Polish Family Enterprises' Successors

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by: Ewa Wiecek-Janka, Joanna Majchrzak, Magdalena Wyrwicka and Gerhard Wilhelm Weber

Introduction: Family Enterprise

Family Enterprise is defined as market system (organism) of a trigonal structure that encompasses family, business and

individual, that functions according to various, but mutually adapted, goals to which it dedicates its energy with a

multigenerational view, through management and control of its activity and ownership.” (Więcek-Janka, 2013)

• family businesses are more conservative, less likely to invest, innovate less frequently, have fewer patents and act

with greater caution, which may mean that they react with delay to emerging market opportunities (Bertrand and Schoar 2006;

Bloom and Reenen 2007; Block 2012; Block et al., 2013) 

• average family enterprises develop more slowly than non- family ones and struggle in introducing changes and innovations

(Gómez-Mejía et al., 2010; Graves and Thomas, 2004; Schulze et al., 2003) 

• competitive potential of family enterpirise is lower, which, however, is compensated by attachment to tradition and care for

relationships (Zając, 2014) 

Successors' goals in the context of succession in family enterprises

Preparing for executing the succession is the most difficult stage in the life cycle of each family enterprise (Otoo,

2009; Kets de Vries, 1993).

The researchers of this subject around the world have observed several aspects that have a direct influence on the effectiveness

of conducting the successional processes:

• the dynamics of family enterprises' development (Giamarco, 2012, Freedman, 2012) 

• the intention of the founder at the beginning of activity and the predicted enterprise 
development strategy (Langevang, 2012; DeTienne, Cardon, 2012) 

• the person of the founder and his/her decision concerning the role in the company after 
succession (DeTienne, Cardon,

2012; Davis, 2005) 

• organisational culture (Oi, 2014; Sharma, Rao, 2000) 

• competences and plans of the successor (Chaimahawong and Sakulsriprasert 2013) 

• the existing legal solutions concerning property administration after succession 

• successor's competences (Chaimahawong, Sakulsriprasert, 2013). 

Research Methodology: Access to Data on Family Businesses

• The availability of data is limited, especially in large data sets where the family category is not distinguished (Bird

et al., 2002) 

• The large number of family enterprises; they are usually privately owned, which limits access to detailed data by

national statistical institutions. 

• The business owners are often reluctant to provide confidential information about their company and family (Winter et

al., 1998) to collect information from employees (Ward 1997), and they protect knowledge about their internal activities related

to competition (Donnelley, 1988; Zając 2014) 

• Family members usually do not want family secrets to be known (Schulze et al., 2001) and they prefer to say nothing

rather than to say anything that could damage their reputation. 

• The number of returned responses from surveys is often too low (Stamm and Lubiński, 2011) 

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