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Configurations for post-succession change: when are family-internal successors able to facilitate change? - 13 Apr 2023

Professor Dr. Nadine Kammerlander from WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management held an on-site research seminar to present her latest research on post-succession change.

Paper title and abstract

Configurations for Post-Succession Change: When Are Family-Internal Successors Able to Facilitate Change? 

Abstract: A key mandate of new CEOs is to foster organizational change and renewal. Yet, new family CEOs often struggle to fulfil this mandate. Prior research from various literatures has independently investigated the question when and under which conditions new CEOs are able to bring about post-succession change. Specifically, the three research streams of strategic leadership, organizational change, and family firm research have found compelling yet oftentimes contrary explanations for post-succession change. We distilled these literature streams’ key conditions for change and investigated the interplay of the five causal conditions by using a configurational (fsQCA) approach. Building on 64 interviews from 43 family firm successions, we identify three solutions leading to post-succession change: personal authority, empowerment, and alignment. This study makes several contributions to post-succession change research, as we are providing a configurational understanding of change. For instance, we can show that the dichotomized top-down and bottom-up approaches to change can be complementary under certain boundary conditions.


About Nadine Kammerlander

Professor Dr. Nadine Kammerlander has been a professor at WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management since 2015. Prior to that she was an assistant professor at the University of St. Gallen. Nadine Kammerlander holds a degree in physics (TU Munich) and a doctorate in business administration (Otto-Friedrich University Bamberg). For several years she worked for McKinsey & Company and advised international companies in the automotive and semiconductor industries on product development projects, mainly in the USA and Mexico.

In teaching and research, she focuses on innovation, employees and governance in family businesses and family offices. Her scientific contributions have been published in international journals (i.e. AMJ, AMR, JMS, JBV, ETP, JPIM, FBR, SBE) and have been awarded renowned research prizes. She is co- editor of the international journal "Family Business Review", member of several editorial review boards (i.e. JOM, ETP, SEJ and JPIM), and collaborates with family businesses and international researchers in a wide variety of projects. Additionally, she is part of the DFG network "Venturing Together".

Nadine Kammerlander is a member of the Innovation Advisory Committee of DESY. Furthermore, she is a member of the expert advisory board of the "Wirtschaftswoche Best of Mittelstand Consulting" competition and of the jury of the "Wirtschaftswoche Supermaster" competition. She is also a member of the commission for the revision of the Code of Conduct for Family Enterprises and a member of the Future Council for Sustainable Development in Rhineland-Palatinate.


This seminar represented an integrative and important part of the House of Innovation's strategy to build a research environment through engagement with prominent guests and their work.

This seminar was part of the Academic Seminar Series offered in cooperation with the Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship. The event was hosted by the Center for Family Enterprise and the House of Innovation.

During her visit Nadine also gave a guest lecture in the course "Entrepreneurial Family Firms" at the Center for Family Enterprise.

House of Innovation Behavioral economics Entrepreneurship Governance Leadership Management Lunch seminar Research seminar