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VOLUME 6 (2004), ISSUE 11 (YEARLY)






Generation successions in family owned businesses are becoming more and more important in Germany as well as in most industrialized countries. The  time has now come to find successors to the entrepreneurs who started their businesses after W.W.II - entrepreneurs who have the capabilities to manage their mostly medium-sized operations successfully. .

The succession of family owned companies from the older to the next generation constitutes a strong link between the generations in entrepreneurial families. This is the more true as the family business is, on the one hand, the lifework of the owner and, on the other hand, the provision for old age for the preceding generation. The entrepreneurial family tradition and entrepreneurial socialization plays an important role in family businesses.

The present empirical research study investigates important aspects of generation succession. Special emphasis is laid on the investigation of the critical success factors and the problems of company successions.

About 60 % of the companies, especially the smaller ones, could not be transferred to a member of the family. In all those cases the entrepreneurial tradition of the family is terminated. One of the strong links between the generation is broken.


Family Business - Generation Succession - Succession Planning - Family Business Strategy


Klaus DEIMEL studied business administration at the Westfälische Wilhelms University, Münster, Germany, and wrote his doctoral dissertation at the University of Essen, Germany. After finishing his doctoral dissertation, the author worked for almost ten years with RAG AG, Essen, serving in different functions in the field of controlling. From 1996 -1997 he was general manager of a business unit in the RAG AG concern. In 1999 he was appointed as a professor of controlling at the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences. 


This article is a revised version of a paper presented at The First International Conference of The Social Capital Foundation, held in Brussels, Belgium, on May 12-13, 2004. 


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