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Title: Towards a better understanding of relational embeddedness : the role of external networks in shaping family business succession
Author: Capon, Emma
ISNI:       0000 0004 8499 4865
Awarding Body: Royal Holloway, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2017
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The study explores the role of external relations in shaping family business succession (FBS) and extends theoretical understanding of relational embeddedness. The objectives include exploring: • What types of external relationships family members draw upon in managing FBS and how they make use of these; and, • The complexity of network ties, including the strong/weak tie conceptualisation and the role of trust in the operation of external network ties. An embeddedness perspective has not previously been applied to FBS research. The focus on relational embeddedness addresses the imbalance in existing research towards structural aspects. Examining the basis for the development of trust within the FBS external ties and the types of trust operating in the ties addresses hitherto neglected dimensions of relational embeddedness, FBS and family business (FB) advising relationships. An inductive and qualitative approach is adopted to explore the subjective perceptions of actors involved in FBS network relationships. A multiple case study approach draws on interviews with fifteen family members in seven Northern Ireland-based FBs and five external individuals who influenced the succession processes. It is argued that FBS needs to be conceptualised as a distinctly social phenomenon. The complex dynamics of FBS are elucidated by exploring the range of external relationships that can influence succession. A conceptual model for relational embeddedness in the FBS context conveying tie multidimensionality is proposed and the Granovetterian dichotomous notion of strong/weak ties is challenged. A more nuanced understanding of network ties is advanced by conceptualising ties as having multiple dimensions, each characterised by a spectrum of strength, and involving the development of specific types of trust. A conceptual model is proposed to capture the nature and dynamics of trust across the FBS external ties. The argument is advanced that the relationship between the tie content dimensions and trust is a mutually constitutive one.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: family business ; network ; succession ; Entrepreneurship ; embeddedness ; trust