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An assessment of impediments to continuity of family-owned small-and medium-enterprises beyond the first generation: a case of Manicaland in Zimbabwe.

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One of the most important issues of our time is indisputably the lack of continuity of family-owned businesses, which causes the closure of industries and rise in unemployment in Africa and the world as a whole. Understanding the contribution of family run businesses to the Gross Domestic Product of a country and in the reduction of unemployment is a critical piece of this delicate issue. Family firms lead to economic advancement of countries leading to poverty alleviation. The purpose of this study was to ascertain the impediments hindering family-owned businesses from continuing beyond the first generation, a case of Manicaland Zimbabwe. For this study, family-owned businesses in Manicaland Province, Zimbabwe were surveyed and data collected on the impediments hindering these firms continuing beyond the first generation. The study used both quantitative and qualitative approaches to analyse results depending on the specific objective to be answered. Quantitative data was hence analysed using descriptive statistics whilst qualitative findings were transcribed, coded, and analysed using interpretation and thematic approaches which describe interpretations of participants’ views, perceptions, and experiences Practically the results may allow visionaries of family owned businesses, managers, educators, and others to take more informed actions in avoiding the impediments hindering the continuity of these firms after the demise of their founders. Purposive sampling was used. Questionnaires and interviews were used to collect data, and the response rate was 80%. The qualitative data was analysed using the Nvivo method whilst quantitative data was captured in Excel and later imported to SPSS.The results indicated that in as much as family-owned businesses contribute to the economic well-being of a nation, little is being done to train the visionaries in terms of succession so that their businesses continue beyond the first generation owners. Recommendations were made so as to reduce these impediments. A model was propounded for family-owned businesses in Africa to follow, so as to ensure continuity of these firms beyond the first generation.


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.