Psychological Ownership of Family Firm Successors: A Conceptual Approach

Raj V. Mahto, Saurabh Ahluwalia, Dmitry Khanin


Researchers have reported high turnover intention among family successors of family firms. Successors’ low commitment to the family firm and high turnover rate is puzzling since most have equity in the firm and/or potential future financial benefits associated with the firm. In this paper we use psychological ownership theory and a new concept of psychological ownership (PO) consideration set to explain a successor’s commitment and turnover intentions. We refine the psychological ownership theory and argue that a successor may concurrently develop psychological ownership toward multiple targets, including the family firm. The development of psychological ownership of other target(s) may conflict with their attachment to the family firm; this may influence their turnover intention and commitment to the firm.

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