Psychological barrier and coping strategies in business transfers explored: towards a conceptual model
Letting go of the firm or “my baby” as some entrepreneurs describe their creation, leads to a certain amount of stress (Rahim 1996, Kets de Vries 1999). Dealing with stress in singular events as the transfer of a business, is hardly been subject of research (Uy et al. 2012). Improving coping strategies in business transfers for the incumbent could be of importance as statistics indicate the continued aging of owners in the European Union. Expanding the possibilities of incumbents to sell their business and move on to their next phase in their life would help to offset such negative effects to each national economy. The number of failed business transfers of viable SMEs now threatens innovative driven European economies (European Commission 2003, Van Teeffelen 2010, Stone et al. 2004). A recent study calculated that the Dutch economy suffers 20,000 unnecessary SME liquidations and approximately 10,000 failed successions per annum, with a projected economic damage of 80,000 jobs, a loss of turnover of almost € 4 billion and a destruction of assets of about € 2 billion yearly (Van Teeffelen 2012). Therefore we believe that coping strategies and psychological barriers in business transfers deserve more academic attention. Our aim is to check and add items to the list of psychological barriers and finally to relate barriers to coping styles. Therefore we engaged in a qualitative study that seeks to explain a particular issue and allows the researcher to study issues in depth and produces detailed data on a small number of individuals (Hyde 2000).
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