Growing Up in a Business Family – An Analytic Autoethnography of ‘Subtle Coerced Succession’

Fürst, Helen (2017) Growing Up in a Business Family – An Analytic Autoethnography of ‘Subtle Coerced Succession’. DBA thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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Family businesses are the backbone of the German economy (Otten-Pappas, 2015). The word ‘family’ makes these companies distinct and indicates their influence on other parts of life. My interest stems from the fact that I was the only child of a business family. For 15 years, I was in charge of the business, contributing to its strong performance. Nevertheless, having achieved all this, I am not proud of myself and feel somehow detached in not having lived my own life. The purpose of this analytic autoethnographic study is to explore, portray and deepen understanding of the situation of growing up in a business family and what influences this has on the business, the family and the individual. The research was carried out within an analytic autoethnographic framework, reflecting the desire to make sense of my experience and to give this phenomenon a name in an ‘academic way’. The abductive nature of this study is due to the fact that I draw on theories which have not previously been brought together under the umbrella of describing and portraying the situation in a family business. This research argues that the phenomenon of ‘subtle coerced succession', which is exercised by parents to groom the natural successor for taking over the family business, exists and has a strong influence on the generational interaction. Being aware of the fact of being born in a business family may imply while being the natural successor brings a lot of stress to the individuals involved. Realising this influence on succession might reduce the number of family businesses not making it to the third generation or beyond. My contribution to knowledge is that ‘subtle coerced succession’ has various impacts on the identity development of children born into family businesses and being the natural successor by birth. This study advances the development of theory by demonstrating how theoretical frames borrowed from other research fields – the total institution, the double-bind, gender and symbolic interactionism – fit together to explain the phenomenon of the ‘subtle coerced succession’ in family businesses.

Item Type: Thesis (DBA)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Uncontrolled Keywords: Family businesses, Germany; Succession planning
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD2340.8 Small and Medium-sized businesses, artisans, handcrafts, trades
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business > HF5549 Personnel management. Employment management
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business, Computing and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2017 13:16
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 08:00

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