Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Long, Rebecca G.

Committee Member

Chrisman, James J.

Committee Member

Daspit, Joshua J.

Committee Member

Ponder, Nicole

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Campus Access Only



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Business


Department of Management and Information Systems


This dissertation seeks to further the current understanding of the development of a consideration set of potential successors in the ground-rules phase of family-firm succession. To do so, this dissertation uses goal systems theory and family social capital to consider goal prioritization as a mechanism through which the family influences the identification of potential successors. Goal system theory emphasizes the prioritization of multiple goals and the corresponding means-ends relationships. Family social capital provides a more nuanced understanding of the influence of the family on the strategic prioritization of goals in the family firm. This dissertation explores the influence of family social capital on the prioritization of the goals of financial growth, transgenerational succession, and the development of a consideration set of potential successors. To test this conceptual model, primary data were collected via an experimental vignette methodology regarding structural family social capital, succession-related goal prioritization, and consideration of potential successors from a sample of business owners within the United States.