Date of Conferral



Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)




Jill Murray


Only one-third of family businesses remain operational into the second generation and approximately one-eighth into the third generation. Succession planning is critical to family-owned businesses, as most businesses will collapse moving to the fourth generation and beyond. Grounded in the family systems theory, the purpose of this qualitative multiple case study was to explore strategies family business leaders use to implement a succession plan. The participants included six senior executives from three family businesses in Ghana who implemented successful strategies for succession planning. The data sources were semistructured interviews and a review of organizational documents, including statutes; articles of incorporation, history, and background; and press releases from company websites. The five emerging themes from using the thematic analysis were (a) preservation of family legacy, (b) succession planning purpose, (c) training and mentoring, (d) entrepreneurial learning, and (e) cultural embeddedness. A primary recommendation for family-owned business leaders is to encourage children to get a higher education and specialized business training. The implications for positive social change include the potential to enhance family business continuity to reduce unemployment in the communities served by the family businesses.

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