The impact of succession on family business innovation: A case study on machinery manufacturing sector in Ankara

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Middle East Technical University, Graduate School of Social Sciences, Science and Technology Policy Studies, Turkey

Approval Date: 2014

Thesis Language: English


Supervisor: İbrahim Semih Akçomak


The main objective of this thesis is to investigate the role of intergenerational business succession on Turkish family firms’ innovation tendency with a comprehensive approach to both succession and innovation issues. By using qualitative data collected from 11 successors and 8 of their predecessors from 11 small and medium sized family firms which are active in the machinery manufacturing sector, we observed a positive influence of succession on innovativeness of family firms. Both generations in the firm management are satisfied with the developments upon succession which are characterised by mainly marketing innovations, however to a certain extent organisational and process innovations with a constant focus on product innovations. Successors’ up to date generic skills gained through formal education, willingly and early involvement in firm operations and, gradual takeover ofthe management roles, positively influence firm innovativeness. Successors’ knowledge of foreign language(s) directly, specific field of education indirectly contribute to marketing innovation. Misallocation of management roles between two generations, out of date management styles, predecessor’s resistance to change and attitude towards saving socioemotional wealth negatively influences product and process innovations and, organisational innovations at the lower management level. Changing market conditions has equal impact with succession related factors on marketing focused innovativeness.