Legitimacy in takeover: How incubators support the legitimation process of external successors?


  • Boumedjaoud Dorian
  • Maus Amandine


  • Legitimacy
  • Takeover
  • External successors
  • Business support

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This working paper tackles the issue of the external successors' legitimation process. In the context of takeover, the external successor - an individual that has never worked within the firm before its acquisition and has not any family relationship with the firm owner - faces a lack of legitimacy in the eyes of many audiences, as the firm’s employees. However, legitimacy is crucial for entrepreneurs, as external successors, in order to obtain immaterial resources (such as adhesion of the employees) and to successfully perform the business succession. In this paper, we are questioning the contribution of the business support delivered by incubators during the external successor’s legitimation process. The literature highlights the role of the incubators in the entrepreneur’s acquisition of legitimacy. However, external successors are still understudied, while the networking activity of the incubator could help the legitimation. We propose to study the support of incubators during the external successor’s legitimation process thanks to a mixed research method. This working paper gives an overview of our steps to understand how incubators contribute to the external successors’ acquisition of legitimacy.

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