New PhD study asks, is succession destroying family businesses in Northants?

Date 21.01.2019

A new research project at the University of Northampton will explore the process of succession among family businesses in Northamptonshire.

One of four new fully funded PhD Studentships on offer at the University, this research will critically evaluate succession studies and analyse the structure of family businesses.

Dr Rebecca Fakoussa, Senior Lecturer in Business Entrepreneurship, said: “Family businesses are central to the UK economy, making up two-thirds of businesses and employ around 12.2 million people. This equates to 47% of private sector employment in the UK, and Northamptonshire has a long history of family firms.”

As part of this study, the research candidate will develop a family business forum in Northamptonshire and invite local key stakeholders; such as family business owners, policy makers, practitioners along to network and help co-develop family businesses in the county.

The hope is that this research will propose new solutions on how to enhance sustainability and continuity in family businesses in the area, as an alternative to succession.

Dr Fakoussa added: “Succession can range from a long term, nepotistic process (heirs being groomed sometimes from birth) – to clearly structured and planned succession based on capability. Previous research has found that many family businesses find themselves unprepared for the transition of succession whether it’s planned or unplanned.

“The aim of this research is to examine succession (planning and implementation) in the generation transition process, particularly focusing on the first and second, and second and third generation family businesses in the UK across differing sectors.”

“We are looking for a pro-active candidate who can demonstrate a strong interest in researching family business and relevant topics – owner or managers, entrepreneurship and sustainability. Previous experience and knowledge of these areas will be advantageous.”

For more information and to apply for this PhD Studentship, please click here.