Strategic Planning and Succession in SMEs: A Multiple Case Study on Italian Family Firms

University essay from Lunds universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen

Abstract: This paper’s goal was to investigate the influence of the degree of formal strategic planning on the pre-and post-succession period within family firms of small and medium size. With a qualitative approach, a multiple-case study was utilized to obtain empirical data from 5 family firms in Italy, in which semi-structured interviews with founders, other family members and non-family managers were conducted. The analysis revolved around a mix of cross-case comparison and within-case analysis to ensure the empirics were carefully deconstructed and applied to the central research question. The findings eventually led to the discovery of a low degree of strategic planning having a correlation with lack of family harmony and sense of belonging, or on the other hand a high degree being parallel to a deficiency in education and experience (of the successor) apart from growth. Furthermore, it was found that one of the companies interviewed presented itself as an exceptional case, by showcasing an above average growth, despite and partially favoured by a paucity in family harmony. To finalize the study, a model was developed based on the aforementioned findings and moreover, the role of family conflict as a competitive advantage was introduced as a potential area to further investigate.

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