Family Business Portuguese and Brazilian: In Between Urgency and Delay Perceptions in the Succession Process

Ana Paula Marques and Leandro Alves Da Silva
Department of Sociology at the University of Minho Interdisciplinary Centre of Social Sciences (Uminho Pole)


Family business has been target of a several studies over the last two decades and its relevance has been supported by the interdisciplinary perspectives in the fields of management, entrepreneurship, economics, psychology, and sociology. Despite that, there is an insufficient knowledge about the key role of the family influences in business, namely the intergenerational management succession, its planning and its effectiveness. According to a recent research focused on the entrepreneurial succession in Portugal (AEP, 2011), 50% of family businesses are not passed on to the second generation and only 20% reach the third generation. In fact, business succession planning has been identified as one of the most challenging steps in the life of the family firm both in maintaining the competiveness of the business and in overcome intra/ inter family conflicts. However, resistance to succession, relationship founder/ successor, planning of succession, type of organizational culture, among others, explain how executive succession is one of the most important and hardest tasks in organizational life (Zahra, 2005). This paper will be supported mainly in qualitative data taking into account the main results from the project “Roadmap for Portuguese Family Businesses” (NORTE2020/FEDER) carried out in Portugal (Marques, 2018) and in Brazil (Silva, 2018), analysing in-depth interviews conducted to Portuguese (N 23) and Brazilin (N 9) founder/ manager/ owner. We aim to discuss the main management challenges of a family business, particularly the importance of succession preparation and the role of the family in the socialization of the second (third or subsequent) generation.