The article "Heroes of the Green Room - Post-Succession Restructuring and Corporate Performance in Family Firms" by Jan-Philipp Ahrens and Michael Woywode was awarded the FFI Best Unpublished Research Award 2014. The award was presented and both researchers honored at an awards gala dinner in the halls of the Smithsonian Society in Washington, D.C. (USA).
The Best Unpublished Research Paper Award is awarded annually at the Family Firm Institute's (FFI) Global Conference after a blind, peer review. The Family Firm Institue has a renowned tradition as the oldest international association in the field of family firm research. The award was presented and the laudatio was held by Prof. Dr. Frank Hoy (vice president of the Family Firm Institute, former chair of the Entrepreneurship Division of the Academy of Management, president of the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship).
With their article "Heroes of the Green Rooms" Jan-Philipp and Michael contribute to the research on successions by analyzing corporate changes and enterprise performance in the wake of CEO successions in family firms. Its key finding is that following an enterprise external as well as family/enterprise internal CEO succession major organizational changes occur surprisingly frequently and that the amount of change tends to be positively related to enterprise performance. The interpretation of the authors is that improvement potentials accumulated in pre-succession periods due to the "stale-in-the-saddle phenomenon" (Danny Miller) can be salvaged in a succession by adaptive corporate changes (i.e. by "mastering the challenge of the Green Room"). In particular reviews of existing supplier relations, the product portfolio, and the compensation scheme were found to be significantly positively related to enhanced performance. The authors also observe that high human capital successors implement more changes when compared to low human capital successors. In addition, an enterprise external origin of the successor and a male gender are positively linked to the amount of organizational changes. Finally, the amount of observed changes seems to be subject to economic firm contingencies and is highest for CEO successions in turnaround situations.