Transition Issues - Master Course Module 4
Leader: Cracow University of Economics, Romana Paszkowska
191 pages long module handbook (with national specifications, reflective questions, case studies and recommended reading) – 3 Sections, 11 Units
E-learning module material (with interactive elements, short films, self-assessment questions, glossary and additional materials)
ISBN 978-615-5607-56-1

FAME projectThe Module of Transition Issues links three main sections: managerial aspects of transition, psychological aspects of transition and culture and family transition.
All of these sections are vital in understand, what exactly happens in a family firm and the family during the period when one generation or another is clearly in charge.
The principal goal of the module is to acquaint students with basic concepts and theories connected with the psychological, managerial and cultural aspects of the transition processes in family companies. Although all these issues massively overlap, attempts have been undertaken to organize the material in complementary order.

Learning objectives (LOs):

  • LO1: Examine the development of the family business and its steps towards its first succession and subsequent transitions in order to understand the critical managerial and organisational factors of transition from an SME into a family business.
  • LO2: Understand the needs for transition planning and recognise the respective role of education, external or internal support needs in this context.
  • LO3: Realise the risks of unplanned succession in order to mitigate the negative outcomes of such an event and prepare for the future.
  • LO4: Identify main issues connected with transferring power, as well as interpersonal communication and conflict handling in family business to understand how they affect and could impede the transition process.
  • LO5: Recognize the relations between primary cultural programming and family business organizational cultures in order to understand how to secure the sustainable growth of family companies.

The First Section represents the managerial approach and contains five units. The first unit deals with the founding, business growth models and transition. The second unit tackles planning for succession including reasons for transition, timing, and involvement of family or non-family members. Unit three involves upshots of unplanned succession and its potential effects. Unit four introduces the topic of importance of education with regard to the succession process, both in terms of internal education that involves management and organisational skills, and learning by doing and the external one connected with completing various courses and acquiring basic knowledge of disciplines referring to the specificity of business and succession as such. Unit five tackles the role of external support of consultants, mentors and coaches during the succession.

The Second Section the psychological approach, mainly the transfer of power. It consists of three units: Unit six covers working in family context during the transition period including the challenges of ownership and dilemma how to build it to last over generations. Such issues as personality types in family businesses, critical factors of succession, the role of trust as basis for family cohesion – socio-emotional wealth and patterns of communication are discussed. Unit seven deals with major threats to orderly transition process, such as informality, paternalism that maintains control, family feuds, sibling rivalry, illness of the principal or siblings, divorce. Unit eight covers conflict types (intergenerational, process, task, and communication conflicts) and conflict management during the family business transition period.

The Third Section develops the cultural approach to transition. In the context of this module culture has been defined as a set of specific values and loyalty types which permeate from the family to the business. Culture is understood both, as corporate culture developed within family business, and in the anthropological sense – as the mental programme of family members rooted in their cultural background. Unit nine considers the organizational culture in the process of transition – methods of identifying and issues connected with transferring or changing the company culture within the transition process. Unit ten discusses the role of culture in sustainable growth and transition, especially the role of culture as a constraint to transition processes and family values and company values in the context of transition. The last unit of this section covers the family business issues from the cross-cultural perspective: the impact of national culture on entrepreneurship, culture dimensions as practical diagnostic tools for recognizing family/company values.

The e-learning outcomes of the FAME programme have been implemented on the Budapest Business School Moodle platform:
Access to the e-learning materials can be asked from Budapest Business School – please contact László Varga (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), administrative coordinator of the FAME project.

IO5-Master Module 4- Transition Issues


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