Lecounte, John Fitzpatrick (2018-04). Best Practices in Succession Planning for CEOs Leading Family-Owned Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • This dissertation examines three succession planning topics for Chief Executive Officers (CEOs): internal succession planning models for CEOs, Founder-CEOs, and a CEO succession planning survey development and validation. Hambrick and Mason's (1984) Upper Echelon Theory, which states that the senior executives of an organization (the CEO and his or her selected team) are responsible for formulating and implementing the organization's strategies, was used in conceptualizing the studies in this dissertation. I argue that there is a lack of CEO succession planning in many family-owned, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which is a disadvantage, because internal succession planning models for CEOs offer three benefits. First, internal executive talent development improves internal capacity while establishing leadership pipelines. Second, internal succession planning models offer cost-effective leadership transition solutions. Third, the results of the CEO succession planning survey of professional organizations described here can be generalized. This study potentially benefits SMEs by providing current research strategies for ensuring business continuity through talent management and development of small business executives.

publication date

  • April 2018