Family businesses are institutions in which two seemingly disparate social units (i.e., families and businesses) are highly integrated. This connection extends to succession across generations and while natural, this can be a difficult process. The founder, thanks to his long stay in the family business, has a substantial amount of tacit knowledge related to the firm which can often determine business success. In the succession process it is important to diffuse and manage overall knowledge, or intellectual capital, to the successor. This study attempts to contribute to the literature casting some light on the business succession in a family firm informed by an intellectual capital perspective. Starting from these theoretical principles, through a case study analysis approach, the research investigates how human and relational resources are managed in the business succession process and how the process is communicated to the external environment and therefore how small family firms can maintain and increase their competitive advantage thus reducing the risk of failure during the succession process.
Keywords: Family business, intellectual capital, business succession
Jel Code: M10, M12, M13, M40