Akume, Benson (2016) Determinants of family business sustainability: evidence from Nigeria. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Literature in family business perpetuity and sustainability is well documented from the advanced economies, but there is a scarcity of insights from emerging markets where this research relates. Further, while the academic discourse has concentrated on issues of succession and corporate social responsibilities, very little discourse have dwelt on issues of sustainability of the family business; and whereas evidence from literature indicates that the survival rate in family businesses is very low. The evidence of a small percentage of family owned businesses being sustained into their third generation highlights the seeming inherent difficulty in achieving sustainability by most family businesses. Hence there is scarcity of empirical data on the constructs determining the sustainability of family business; and evidence of the low survival rate of family businesses, this thesis, therefore, investigated, and gave an understanding and interpretation of how family business owners can develop the capabilities to survive across generations using the stewardship theory paradigm and relying on evidence from an emerging market economy. A qualitative method with 41 in-depth face-to-face interviews involving owners and managers of family-owned micro, small and medium sized businesses was used. The data were analysed using the thematic analysis procedure with the aid of a Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software (CAQDAS). Findings from this thesis contribute to the theoretical literature on stewardship and family business. One of the key findings indicated that, family structure and family internal dynamics have a greater challenge in sustainability. This is the consequence of polygamy, which is well practiced in Nigeria, and in many African countries. It was also found that the element of spirituality arising from the ideals and values of the owning family is a factor for achieving family wellbeing and business sustainability. In the realm of the stewardship theory as the guiding theory for this thesis, it was further found that the stewardship of managers and indeed other non-family member employees within the business is provisional stewardship as non-family members rely on other incentives from the owning family members to behave as stewards. Based on the findings, and building on the stewardship theory, the thesis came up with nine propositions on the constructs determining family business sustainability and developed a model of sustainability for the micro, small, and medium sized family businesses.

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