Family Business Succession in Portugal: An Examination of Case Studies in the Furniture Industry


  • The authors would like to thank Paul Westhead, Panikkos Poutziouris, and two anonymous reviewers for their very helpful comments on earlier versions of this paper.


This paper explores the transferability of theoretical constructs developed in an Anglo-American culture to Portugal. Cultural effects on succession are examined within three Portuguese family firms, which were selected for their ability to generate theory. Much of the extant literature appears to be valid in this context. Notable exceptions include difficulties in applying stages models of the succession process with more than one predecessor and successors at varying stages. Harmonious rather than contentious relationships were commonplace. Daughters were more highly educated than sons and less likely to enter the family firm. Sons joined the family firm with little or no outside work experience and low levels of education. These facts are highlighted as concerns regarding the ability of Portuguese family firms to compete in the new economy. A conceptual framework is presented as a basis for further research.