Women in Family Businesses

Daughters in Succession


Taking over business by the next generation is a basic component of what characterizes a family business. Daughters are self-evidently available as successors and thereby secure the continuity of the family enterprise. However, they are still a clear minority and often have to face difficulties, paradoxes and – also family-internal – obstacles that complicate a smooth succession process or that even prevent it.

This research project investigates the way in which daughters from business owning families are being raised and how upbringing, socialisation and education influence successors’ willingness to succeed and how they succeed. The research focuses furthermore on the leadership styles of women in family business succession, how they are developed and leadership skills acquired. The project will contribute to an understanding of the conditions for female succession in family businesses which in turn will facilitate the succession process for future generations of daughters.

Another research focus lies on the examination of leadership behaviour of these women and on the question how female successors learn management. How can they develop a personal style of leadership and how does this style differ from the one of male successors or managers of non-family businesses? This project focuses mainly on an unexplored research field and also serves the purpose to contribute to practice for a better understanding of family businesses.

Intermediate results of this project are summarized in the Working Papers No. 10 and No. 11. These and further Working Papers are available in our download area.

The project is exclusively financed by donations of family entrepreneurs as well as the WIFU research fund.

Contact persons are Dominique Otten-Pappas and Prof. Dr. Arist von Schlippe