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Management process

From the point of view of those taking over a company, the transfer of management generally comprises four steps: thinking things over and making the decision, preparing the handover, the co-management of the business, and the exit of the owner-manager.

Thinking and decision making

Preparing the


Exit of the

  • During the first step, the successor or successors are first introduced to entrepreneurship. The introduction can occur within the family business just as it can occur within another context. For example, an educational choice or a work experience might lead to entrepreneurship. This is the step where the successor decides to take over the company.
  • During the second step, the successor puts in place the strategies that will help him acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to step into his new role. Many people use the services of strategic planning experts and human resource management experts to help them through this step.
  • During the period of co-management the owner-manager and the successor evolve together within the company in a way that achieves the simultaneous transfer of knowledge, skills, and power, as well as the integration of the successor.
  • Over the course of the fourth step, the exit of the owner-manager, the members of the succession team take the reins of the company, running it on their own. They are now responsible for its continuation and its development. There is the possibility that the owner-manager still has some implication in the company, depending on his skills, capacities, and the needs of the company.

This model was established on the basis of field studies and establishes a compelling summary of what was observed. All evidence points to the fact that the duration of each of these steps varies according to the circumstances. For example, in the case of a transfer outside the family that does not involve any company management, the step dealing with co-management may be completed very quickly, or even skipped entirely. The exit of the owner-manager may also occur over of very short period.


1) Hugron, Pierre. « L'entreprise familiale. Modèle de réussite du processus successoral », Institut des recherches politiques et Presses HEC, Montréal, 1991, XVII, 155 p.