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Title: The impact of true succession on the survival and sustainability of family businesses in Ghana : a case study of Palmers Green International Limited
Author: Ofori-Danso, Samuel
ISNI:       0000 0004 8505 9123
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2019
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Background: The increasing collapse of family businesses all over the world has been attributed to the challenges associated with succession. In line with this, theoretical and empirical literature has associated the collapse of these businesses to a lack of a true or sustainable succession process throughout the preand post-succession periods. With PGIL going through similar succession journey, the need to pursue a journey towards a sustainable outcome requires the company to explore and pursue the True succession course. Aim of the investigation: The aim of the study is to explore the concept of True Succession and investigate how this concept could be used to influence a change towards sustainable succession within the context of the various barriers and challenges faced in PGIL. Design/Methodology/Approach: With the exploratory nature of the problem, the study adopted the qualitative method using the case study approach within the action research (AR) methodology in a three-action research cycle utilizing Coghlan and Brannick iterative cycle of construction, planning, acting and evaluation. Data was collected from three separate groups, the action learning set, (Action Research Team), practitioners from external family businesses and workers in PGIL. The mode of collecting data was through questionnaires, interviews, and participants' dialogue within the team, focus group, and reflective journaling. Findings: Utilizing Braun & Clarke (2006) data analysis framework, the study found that the definition of family business is a multi-dimensional construct entailing the family and business dimensions influenced by family interest, family ownership and control, family ethos and succession. However, the study found that irrespective of the nature of the structure, the family business operates in an environment characterized by emotions and conflicts, succession plan, family control and authority and external environmental forces. With the need to pursue True succession in the company, the study found that there should be an effective and capable Board to pursue the change, the founder should have the capability and willingness to pursue the change, the successor should be willing and capable to take over and the company must involve the mixed management team in this process. Whilst recognizing this, the study found that true succession can be gained if the company is able to surmount the barriers identified as lack of succession plan, conflicts and tension, unreadiness of the founder and communication challenges. Recognizing all these, the study found that the founder was willing but not ready to hand over to the successor. The study found that factors such as the un-readiness of the successor, the successor's level of capability and the lack of trust and confidence accounted for the behaviour of the founder. Moreover, the main barriers identified in PGIL was identified as family feud, lack of involvement of non-family members and the non-existence of succession plans were affecting the company's quest for True succession. Towards this end, the study sought to identify the enablers of True succession in PGIL and the implementation of these enablers. The study found that, the company needs to design a succession plan, involve non-family management team in the process, and provide the needed resources and the board leading the process. In line with this, the study found the need to institute a transitional leadership structure in the whole process and efforts have begun to make this process a reality in PGIL. Implications: The study has significant implications on the succession process when the Founder/CEO is around to spearhead the entire process. The study further recognizes the Board as a major contributor to the entire succession process towards sustainability. The study further explores alternate direction to close the leadership gap when it recognizes that the potential successor is not ready to assume the leadership mantle in the company. Limitations and Further Areas of Research: The limited time period for the submission of my action research thesis made it difficult for me to cover every aspect of my topic; thereby opening avenues for further studies. Whilst recommendation was made for the appointment of an external Chief Executive Officer (CEO) as a transitional leader, the limited time made it difficult to explore the process through which the transitional leader could sustain the company. Secondly, whilst a qualitative study was used as a method for data collection with relatively smaller sample size, it will be worthwhile to undertake a quantitative study on succession with a relatively bigger sample. The essence is to ensure that the researcher is able to utilize quantitative justification with a larger sample to seek for convergence of the qualitative and quantitative outcomes. Lastly, although much of this study was about the Founder/CEO's willingness to let go of the company and the un-readiness of the successor, it might be good to also explore the impact of what could happen after a transition on the sustainability of the company. All these offer further areas of study.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.B.A.) Qualification Level: Doctoral