Internal versus external ownership transition in family firms: An embeddedness perspective

Johan Wiklund, Mattias Nordqvist, Karin Hellerstedt, Miriam Bird

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


We investigate factors that influence family business owners' choice between passing ownership within the family or to new external owners. Taking an embeddedness perspective focusing on owner-family structure and involvement, we hypothesize that ownership dispersion, number of potential heirs, multigenerational involvement, and whether the chief executive officer is a family member influence the choice of an internal or external transition of ownership. We build a longitudinal data set from a sample of 3,829 family firms and their ownership transitions. Our theorizing and findings regarding ownership transitions complements the abundant research on management succession and therefore constitutes an important contribution to the literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1319-1340
Number of pages22
JournalEntrepreneurship: Theory and Practice
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics


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