Contracts and communication among family members: Business succession from a contractual view

Schell, Sabrina; Wolff, Sven; Moog, Petra (2020). Contracts and communication among family members: Business succession from a contractual view. Journal of Small Business Management, pp. 1-34. Taylor & Francis 10.1080/00472778.2020.1816429

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During family business succession, much information has to be exchanged among the family members involved, contacts have to be transferred, and expectations must be negotiated among the family members. How this exchange of information occurs remains unclear but can be a key success factor during the postsuccession period as information is critical for decision making. By conducting 14 in-depth case studies and considering institutional contract theory and family communication theory, we find that situations arise in which involved members of the entrepreneurial family have different levels of information and different expectations of one another. This study contributes to the family business succession literature through an intrafamily business succession model in which two types of contracts organize information exchange among the involved family members—(psychological implicit) family contracts and (explicit) business contracts. Both contracts serve the purpose of exchanging information in the family and business systems and aligning expectations such that the family and the family business remain capable of operating.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Department of Business Management > Institute of Organization and Human Resource Management > Human Resource Management

UniBE Contributor:

Schell, Sabrina


600 Technology > 650 Management & public relations
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 330 Economics




Taylor & Francis




Sabrina Schell

Date Deposited:

22 Mar 2021 11:51

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:49

Publisher DOI:



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