Are We in Good Hands?

Eric Clinton Family Business Awards Nov 2023

Dr Eric Clinton speaking at the Family Business Awards

The big question for family business & succession intentions is, 'Are We In Good Hands?'.

Dr Eric Clinton announced the launch of the latest DCU National Centre for Family Business (NCFB) research project at the Irish Family Business Awards in Dublin’s Mansion house on Friday 3rd November.

‘Should we stay, or should we go? Examining the succession intentions of Ireland's next generation family business members' is a yearlong project sponsored by AIB

The project runs across DCU Business School, Ulster University, University of Limerick and University College Cork. Family business forms the bedrock of Irish society, it is the heartbeat of any village and town’s main street and emblazoned across GAA jerseys nationwide. And yet survival rates of family businesses are poor. Opportunities for next generation of family business are rich; so how do we grow and scale family businesses?

This generation is different to current family business leaders and previous generations. Millennials and Gen Z make up 25% of the world’s population but 50% of the world’s workforce. In five years’ time they will be 75% of the world's workforce. Eric reminded the business audience that Gen Z are multi-taskers with a short eight second attention span! He stressed the importance that family businesses need to know their values; that they really dig deep and understand what these values reflect - indeed this is crucial for the business’s future. This supersedes business growth structure, internationalisation and constitution - because future growth will come once you know and live your values. Your family business values come from your history; from key points on your timeline.

Research tells us that millennials rate purpose highly – ‘will my career give me purpose?’ They value experience over possessions; they are confident in their perspective and generally expect hierarchy to earn their respect. Only 20% of millennials want a life-time association with a business – this is striking and forces us to examine is our family business in ‘Good Hands?’

NCFB's Succession Intentions national research study will measure how stakeholders form opinions about family business leaders. It will set out some fascinating insights for the next generation of family business in Ireland.

NCFB is Ireland's leading family business research centre. Founded in 2013, we also work with global leading experts and their research teams in top international business schools. Publishing in international journals and contributing to commissioned family business practitioner reports, we are committed to three pillars of excellence: research, education and engagement with impact. Working together with our academic and policy research colleagues, our research readily translates into evidence-based practice that we share with family businesses we work with, to ensure they remain competitive and successful.

Watch a short video about the project here.