Complete Life Cycle of a Family Business, The
Lester, David L
A small, family owned and operated construction company, AAA Construction, Inc., is followed throughout its turbulent thirty-eight year history. A five-stage model is employed to chronicle the company’s disjointed development, identifying eleven distinct life cycle stages. The findings reveal a lack of lessons learned and a tremendous willingness by the founder to resist change. The study clearly reveals the importance of information processing, decentralized decision-making, succession planning, and market research for diversification.
There has recently been a call in the literature for the expansion of management research into the unique nature of family businesses to fully understand the contribution of the family to a business (Chua, Chrisman, & Steier, 2003). A second goal in the furthering of family business research is to apply mainstream organizational theory to the study of family business (Chua, et al., 2003). Family businesses have been described by Habbershon and Williams (1999) as an interaction between the family and the firm and the resources that result (Sirmon & Hitt, 2003) with the key resource being the family itself. It is the family’s decision making in the operation of its firm that separates the family business from all others (Chrisman, Chua, & Zahra, 2003). Of particular interest to family business researchers is the finding that family businesses tend not to make wealth maximization the primary goal of the business (Sharma, Chrisman, & Chua, 1997). One potential explanation of this phenomenon is the inability of many families to separate the goals of the business from those of the family (Alderfer, 1988; Gersick, Davis, Hampton, & Lansberg, 1997). The inability to separate family and business is a theme that emerges in this study. The organization theory stream of research applied to family business is the organizational life cycle.
The life cycle model proposes that organizational growth and development is similar to the growth and development of a living organism. Since organizations do experience different stages of development during their lifetimes, one family business is studied in depth to see what lessons can be learned from the practical application of life cycle theory.
Much of the life cycle literature is prescriptive or predictive (Adizes, 1989; Churchill & Lewis, 1983; Greiner, 1972; Quinn & Cameron, 1983). If life cycle research is to be useful to ongoing organizations, some practical benefit must be realized. As has been noted by other life cycle researchers (Beverland & Lockshin, 2001), Hanks (1990) has neatly captured the practical essence of the life cycle paradigm:
A valid life cycle model could be of great value to those managing growing firms. It could provide a road map, identifying critical organizational transitions, as well as pitfalls the organization should seek to avoid as it grows in size and complexity. An accurate life-cycle model could provide a timetable for adding levels of management, formalizing organization procedures and systems, and revising organization priorities… The benefits of such a model would certainly be great. (p.1)
The purpose of this study is to capture the entire history of a family business, identifying those critical transitions, pitfalls, and timetables that Hanks (1990) makes reference to in the preceding quote. The goal is that other family business executives may be able to benefit from the mistakes and successes of AAA Construction, the focus of the study.
Based on prior research (Dodge, Fullerton & Robbins, 1994; Hanks, 1994; Lester & Parnell, 1999; Lester, Parnell, & Carraher, 2004; Miller & Friesen, 1984; Mintzberg, 1984), a five-stage organizational life cycle model is utilized to chronicle the entire life span of AAA Construction, Inc., a family construction company. Advocates of strategic choice (Child, 1972) propose that knowledge of an organization’s stage of development can assist top managers in choosing appropriately competitive courses of action (Lester & Parnell, 1999). With this model, AAA’s managers could have identified their organization’s life cycle stage and all of the attending characteristics, perhaps making changes and avoiding pitfalls that might have prevented their firm’s early demise.
The Organizational Life Cycle
The adaptation of the biological concept of a life cycle by organizational researchers dates back several decades (Downs, 1967; Greiner, 1972; Penrose, 1952; Quinn & Cameron, 1983). The appeal of the life cycle is obvious, as organizations are born (Tichy, 1980), attempt to grow in different forms (Mintzberg, 1989), and eventually die (Kimberly & Miles, 1980). The theoretical notion of the life cycle is distinctly deterministic, as organizations inexorably pass from one stage to the next over time.
Several researchers have questioned this deterministic perspective through the study of ongoing organizations (Kimberly & Miles, 1980; Lester & Parnell, 1999; Lohdal & Mitchell, 1980; Miller & Friesen, 1984; Tichy, 1980). The results have revealed an opposite, or nondeterministic, life cycle history of organizations (Miller & Friesen, 1984). The life cycle is more of a collective interpretation of the organization’s environment based on an assessment by top management. Most firms do not pass inexorably from one stage of development to another in the biological sense (Lester & Parnell, 2002; Miller & Friesen, 1984).
Each life cycle stage is a loosely comprised set of organizational activities and structures (Dodge, et al., 1994; Hanks, 1994; Quinn & Cameron, 1983). According to Van de Ven (1992), the key is to understand how these activities and structures change over time. As noted in the literature (Drazin & Kazanjian, 1990; Miller & Friesen, 1984) organizations can revert back to earlier stages, remain in one particular stage of development for a very long time (Miller & Friesen, 1984), or fail to move beyond an early stage, progressing quickly to decline or death (Churchill & Lewis, 1983).
The life cycle concept is so appealing it has been employed to study other topics of organizational research. Miller and Shamsie (2001) described Hollywood studio executives’ development and performance as a three-stage executive learning life cycle. How priorities of top managers change from one life cycle stage to another has been chronicled by several researchers (Churchill & Lewis, 1983; Dodge, et al., 1994; Kazanjian, 1988; Smith, Mitchell, & Summer, 1985), as has the life cycle of industries (Grimm & Smith, 1997; Miles, Snow & Sharfman, 1993), although there is a lack of consensus as to its validity (Porter, 1980). Several life cycle models have been proposed by organizational researchers (Adizes, 1979; Churchill & Lewis, 1983; Greiner, 1972; Lyden, 1975; Miller & Friesen, 1984; Mintzberg, 1984; Scott, 1971; Torbert, 1974). Most models are multi-stage in nature, varying from three to ten stages. Some distinguish between small organizations (Churchill & Lewis, 1983; Steinmetz, 1969; Scott & Bruce, 1987) and organizations in general (Kimberly & Miles, 1980; Quinn & Cameron, 1983). This study uses a five-stage model that has empirical support in the literature (Lester & Parnell, 2004; Miller & Friesen, 1984) and is applicable to all organizations, regardless of size or stage of development.
Stage One: Existence
Known as the entrepreneurial stage (Quinn & Cameron, 1983) or birth stage (Lippitt & Scmidt, 1967), existence (Churchill & Lewis, 1983) is the beginning of organizational development. The focus is on viability, finding enough customers to support the existence of the organization. Decision-making, ownership, and power are in the hands of one, or a few, and organizational structure is quite simple (Mintzberg, 1979). Information processing is informal, with some documentation being hand-written. Environments tend to be enacted or created (Bedeian, 1990; Daft & Weick, 1984).
Stage Two; Survival
As firms move into the survival stage they seek to grow (Adizes, 1979; Downs, 1967), develop some formalization of structure (Quinn & Cameron, 1983), and establish their own distinctive competencies (Miller & Friesen, 1984). The primary goal is to generate enough revenue to continue operations and finance sufficient growth to stay competitive (Churchill & Lewis, 1983). As managers other than the founder are added to the organization, a power struggle often results. This conflict is resented by the group of employees that have stayed with the firm since its early days, as they remain loyal to the founder regardless of any need for change (Hanks, 1990). Information processing becomes more sophisticated in keeping with the need for more formalization to facilitate growth.
In Stage Two some organizations grow large enough and prosper well enough to enter stage three, success. Others hit and miss, earning only marginal returns in some fiscal cycles, but continuing to stay viable (Churchill & Lewis, 1983). And, some fail to generate sufficient revenue to endure, going out of business.
Stage Three; Success
The stage commonly called maturity (Adizes, 1979), success represents an organizational form where formalization and control through bureaucracy are the norm (Quinn & Cameron, 1983). A common problem in this stage is ‘red tape’ (Miller & Friesen, 1984), a condition of wading through layers of organizational structure to get anything accomplished. Job descriptions, policies and procedures, and hierarchical reporting relationships are all very formal. Organizations have passed the survival test, growing to a point that they want to protect what they have gained. Decision making is decentralized as top managers focus on planning and strategy, leaving daily operations to middle managers.
One critical problem in this stage is that the excessive bureaucracy limits the firm’s ability to respond to changing environments (Hanks, 1990). Information processing systems mature to the point that they are viewed as a necessary burden, in many ways hampering operations.
Stage Four: Renewal
The Stage Four organization desires to return to a leaner time (Miller & Friesen, 1984), allowing collaboration and teamwork to foster innovation and creativity. This creativity can be facilitated through the use of a matrix structure, and decision-making is very much decentralized. The organization is still large and bureaucratic, but organizational members are encouraged to work within the bureaucracy without adding to it. The needs of customers are, as in the Survival stage, placed above those of organizational members. Renewal organizations strive for growth and revival (Quinn & Cameron, 1983), no longer content to be slow moving, almost stagnant, giants. Information processing systems are totally state of the art technologically, providing their users with sharp competitive weapons.
Stage Five; Decline
This stage is characterized by politics and power (Mintzberg, 1984). Organizational members become more concerned with personal goals than organizational goals. For some organizations, the inability to meet the external demands of a former stage has led them to a period of decline where they experience a lack of profit and a loss of market share (Miller & Friesen, 1984). Control and decision-making tend to return to a handful of people, as the desire for power and influence in earlier stages has eroded the viability of the organization.
Factors that Determine Life Cycle
Following the lead of Miller and Friesen (1984) four major gestalts (Drazin & Kazanjian, 1990) were employed in this study: strategy, structure, decision-making style, and organizational situation.
Organizational situation (Miller & Friesen, 1984) refers to the overall make-up of the firm, including its size, number of owners or shareholders, how customers influence decisions, the heterogeneity of its markets, and so forth. The second factor, decision-making style, will differ depending upon degrees of participation, and is predicted to become more participative as organizations develop (McNamara & Baden-Fuller, 1999). Other decision-making issues include whether they are future-oriented, innovative, or defensive. Organizational structure, the third factor, will vary from simple to complex, informal to formal, flat to tall, and so forth. In considering structural issues, information processing procedures, decentralization of authority, and departmental differentiation are particularly important. And, lastly, the strategy gestalt is operationalized through the work of Miles and Snow (1978). They identified four generic strategic types: prospectors, analyzers, defenders, and reactors.
Prospectors are organizations that constantly strive for new markets, primarily through the utilization of innovation. Analyzers try to maintain their innovative ability while striving to achieve some level of cost efficiency. Defenders stay focused within a narrow product market, continually attempting product and process efficiencies. And, reactors, for whatever reason, choose only to maintain the status quo, refusing to change unless forced to do so by external influences (Miles & Snow, 1978).
Mintzberg’s (1984) work on power was also considered in determining cycles. In the firm studied, however, real power never resided anywhere except with the founder.
This research was conducted using the nonparticipative observer method. The phenomenologist tradition of qualitative research was followed, where formal hypotheses are not formulated (Easterby-Smith, Thorpe, & Lowe, 1991). Qualitative design (Naumes, 1979) is concerned with processes leading to observable ends from the actor’s frame of reference (Weber, 1968).
Once the firm agreed to cooperate with the research project, several secondary supporting documents were obtained by the researchers for review. These documents included, but were not limited to, sales reports, profit and loss statements, corporate tax returns, forms used on a daily basis [such as work orders and purchase orders], and the policy and procedure manual. Through an analysis of this documentation, the researchers were able to prepare a preliminary profile of the company. An added benefit to receiving this information was that the researchers felt more comfortable with the company’s history before conducting interviews, leading to more informed questions and more in-depth probing of interviewees than might have otherwise occurred. Extensive interviews were conducted employing the nondirective method (Bouchard, 1976). Interviewees included the organization’s founder, vice-presidents, office manager, construction estimators, superintendents, and craftsmen. The nondirective method was selected to establish a dialogue, asking for a description of a situation and probing for more detailed information that might enlighten the study (Duncan, 1979). The information was categorized by the authors and reviewed by a panel of university professors trained in the discipline of management to determine life cycle stages for the firm’s thirty-eight years of operation.
Three of the employees interviewed worked for the firm for its entire history. The firm’s founder, M.L. ‘Jack’ Hudson, who passed away in 1999, made himself and his family members available to the researchers, and several family members who were not employed by the firm were interviewed. One researcher was previously acquainted with the founder and members of his family. This relationship added to the richness of information obtained during the founder’s interview sessions, as specific instances known to both the researcher and the founder were discussed from an internal and an external perspective.
The Firm Studied
The subject company, AAA Construction, Inc., was a repair/rebuild general contractor located in the southern part of the United States in Memphis, Tennessee. The company specialized in insurance-related construction work, such as fire damages, water damages, burglary damages, and vehicle damages to residential and commercial buildings.
Results: The Company’s Life Cycle
The company was founded in 1962 by Jack Hudson. Hudson worked as a superintendent during the day to keep a steady income, spending his evenings and weekends repairing damaged homes, calling on insurance claims’ adjusters, preparing new repair estimates. His wife Joyce served a secretarial role during the day and quickly learned that the insurance repair business demanded a personal relationship with adjusters and agents.
First-year revenues were $38,000 (See Appendix B for complete revenue history). By 1964, there was enough business to warrant Hudson’s full-time involvement. A small commercial location on Baron Road in Memphis was leased for offices and storage. At year’s end, one of Hudson’s brothers-in-law, Harold Bell, was brought in as a partner. Bell had some minor carpentry experience with a large local contractor.
The organization had a very simple structure that revolved around Hudson, who built the business on external, personal relationships. The company was new, small, and constantly prospecting for new business. Power resided with Hudson, and information processing consisted of a job folder system containing hand-written notes of needed repairs and typed estimates for the adjusters. Hudson’s philosophy was that sales and promotions were paramount.
In 1966, AAA moved to a new, larger location in mid-town Memphis on Roland Avenue. Revenues had grown to $75,000 a year, but cash flow had become a major problem. Growth was being financed from cash flow, as the company did not have a commercial banking relationship. This was difficult due to the payment on insurance work coming only at the completion of work. The founder spent the bulk of his time during this cycle targeting the two most aggressive homeowner insurance companies in his market, State Farm and Allstate. This effort was successful, and by the end of this cycle the family believed AAA could be a long-term, thriving business. This growth brought the need for more managers.
By the late 1960’s, AAA employed skilled, full-time tradesmen in carpentry, painting, wallpapering, roofing, and hardwood flooring. This personnel strategy would change more than once during its history, as Hudson struggled with the expense of hiring full-time craftsmen versus subcontracting his work. The firm was among the top three in its market in size by 1972. A division of labor was realized as Hudson divided management duties between himself and his brother-in-law Bell, and a professional bookkeeper was employed. By 1969 sales volume had reached $500,000 a year, with the company employing 5 salesmen/estimators and managing 30 repairmen and a fleet of 18 vehicles.
The cash flow problem abated somewhat during this cycle, leading Hudson to explore two diversification attempts in 1969 involving the insurance industry. The first was an automobile body shop that was managed by Bell. The second venture involved the reclamation of small aircraft, primarily crop dusters, when they crashed in rural areas of the mid-south. The idea of trying new businesses with at least loose ties to the insurance industry became a recurring theme.
In early 1973 Hudson decided to disengage from his company to pursue other business interests. Two of his most trusted nonfamily estimators, Gary Byers and Jim Rainer, were left to manage AAA Construction. Bell continued to manage AAA Auto Rebuilders. With Hudson disengaged, Byers and Rainer began to resent Hudson’s seeming lack of appreciation for their work at AAA. One Friday night they demanded partnerships in AAA, threatening to quit if they weren’t granted. Hudson took up their keys and showed them the door, calling them a cab since both drove company vehicles.
Two months later, Gary Byers and Jim Rainer opened Bluff City Construction, a new repair company. Bluff City stole market share from AAA almost immediately. Hudson was forced to return to AAA on a full-time basis. The automobile body shop, having never turned a profit, was closed, and Bell returned to the construction company.
From 1973 to 1977 the company’s sales remained relatively flat. The erosion of market share led to a change in marketing strategy. Promotional focus shifted from agents, who controlled relatively small claims ($500 or less), to independent adjusters whose authority was not limited.
By 1975 the company had three owners, Jack Hudson, Harold Bell, and Tommy Phillips (another brother-in-law of Hudson’s), each with some management responsibility. The company was now large enough that Hudson could not supervise work in the field due to other duties.
The company reached its largest size to date and moved to its last location on Old Getwell Road during the fall of 1979. Hudson, Bell, and Phillips owned this property and the buildings, whereas the other two locations were leased. Decision-making was centralized with regard to major issues, as Hudson continued to manage all strategic issues for AAA. Routine operating decisions were made by the sales and operations managers, Bell and Phillips.
Institutional customers began to have a much larger voice in company direction. One example of this was the move toward computer estimating by the larger insurance companies. To obtain jobs from some clients, AAA had to perform work based on computer estimates, which invariably lacked the slack, or built-in profit, of people-generated estimates.
The company had a simple but distinct organizational structure by 1980, with Jack Hudson as President, Joyce Hudson as secretary/treasurer, and Bell and Phillips as vice-presidents. AAA changed its name at the beginning of this life cycle from AAA Home Service to AAA Construction, Inc. A second important event was that the state increased AAA’s license to a million dollars. The company also began to earn some substantial profits during this cycle, relieving the constant concern over cash flow.
Sales revenues increased decisively for the two fiscal years of this cycle. A redirection of the analyzer strategy in an attempt to renew the firm resulted in an expansion into new-work contracting. A department was established to pursue jobs in commercial contracting of new work, such as warehouses, office buildings, and parking lots. Commercial contracting of work priced below AAA’s per job ceiling of $1 million is very competitive. For example, most insurance repair work carried gross profit margins of around 40-to-50%, while new-work gross profit was usually below 15%.
For the two years that AAA diversified into commercial contracting, the company went from financial stability to financial insecurity. Over $200,000 was lost on this venture, due to bad bids, bad management, and bad work. Cash flow problems returned, and AAA’s supplier relationships deteriorated, as invoices were not paid on time.
During this cycle, Harold Bell decided to leave the company. Hudson and Phillips purchased Bell’s stock and his interests in the buildings and land, and he used this capital to open his own insurance repair construction company, Harold Bell & Associates.
In response to the losses of the previous life cycle, Hudson scaled back operations to reflect an existence stage of the life cycle. Decision-making was again centralized, and a new construction superintendent was hired, one who was not required to be involved in sales or promotions. This superintendent, Gary Shuck, had a dramatic impact on the company’s ability to perform work. Training was initiated, uniforms were made available to the workers, and a cross-training program was enacted. Also in 1986, Joyce Hudson decided to retire, ending twenty years of service in the office at AAA.
Great improvements in 1987 came in the form of information processing. An accounting software program was installed, improving the accuracy of the company’s record keeping. Prior to this year, all bookkeeping and record keeping had been done manually.
A change in strategy in 1988 resulted in AAA opening a contents cleaning and restoration business for furniture, appliances, and household items that were removed from fire-damaged or water-damaged buildings. This work had always been subcontracted. Also, a new program that focused on apartment rehabilitation, initiated by Jack Hudson, yielded immediate, positive results. A management firm with significant properties became AAA’s number one customer. In early 1989, however, that firm went bankrupt. AAA was left with over $150,000 in unpaid invoices due to this bankruptcy.
During Christmas of 1989 thousands of pipes froze and burst, flooding the insurance companies with claims. The training improvements of 1987 paid off as AAA worked more jobs at more volume in terms of sales and profitability than at any other prior time in its history.
Tommy Phillips retired during 1989, leaving Jack and Joyce Hudson back where they had started as the only owners of AAA Construction. Looking toward the future, the Hudson’s grandson, David Robbins, was brought in to learn the business.
An office manager, Lewis Harris, a nonfamily employee, was hired in 1990. Harris would play a major role in the future of the company. Revenue growth during 1989 had been sorely needed, but by the winter of 1991, which was much milder in nature, AAA found its volume declining. Hudson kept AAA’s operational scope but scaled back personnel, which included firing Gary Shuck, the superintendent. Revenues were still strong, but much of the work was being subcontracted.
Lewis Harris, empowered to manage the day-to-day administrative affairs of the company, became Hudson’s most trusted advisor. Harris listened to employee concerns and served as a buffer between the employees and Hudson. Robbins, meanwhile, was being taught the skill of construction estimating, as well as the importance of sales and promotions by Hudson. Toward the end of this cycle, Hudson’s granddaughter’s husband, Dave Allen, joined AAA.
Sales remained strong during this cycle. AAA continued to rely on extensive subcontracting to control costs. The market niche of insurance repair was at its most competitive. Many insurance firms were settling claims without involving contractors, a serious threat to the firm’s continued survival.
In December of 1997 Hudson was diagnosed with cancer. From December until his death the next summer he became increasingly withdrawn from the company. By early 1998 Lewis Harris was the de facto president of the company. A serious threat Harris had to negotiate at this time was a dispute with the state over workmen’s compensation fees. This came about because of AAA’s changing back and forth from subcontract to hourly employees. The amount in dispute was around $100,000.
Conflict between Harris and David Robbins developed and accelerated during this cycle, and customer service suffered. Then, in July of 1998, Jack Hudson passed away. His wife Joyce immediately named her grandson David Robbins as AAA’s new president. The bank, trusting in the older, nonfamily manager Harris’s ability to continue to successfully manage AAA after Jack Hudson’s death, threatened to call in a line of credit of $100,000 if Harris was no longer affiliated with the firm. In November, David Robbins fired Harris.
With conflict and politics dominating AAA, the business began to regress. The bank called the loan, and cash flow could not handle the payment. Joyce Hudson invested $100,000 of capital into the company, but Robbins demanded another $250,000.
Over a period of three months, Joyce Hudson complied with David Robbins’ request for more funds. Unfortunately, the company was being mismanaged, funds were being mishandled, and the company was failing. Robbins was absent too often, and customer service had declined. Internal record keeping was almost nonexistent. In late spring, 2000, Joyce Hudson decided to close AAA Construction, with just over $600,000 in debt and about $300,000 in assets.
AAA Construction, Inc. began and ended as a small business, never growing to the size of a large or intermediate firm. And, on more than one occasion, it reverted to an existence, or start-up stage, to prevent extinction.
The study supports the work of Churchill and Lewis (1983) as the company tended to stay in the Survival stage for many years. Jack Hudson tried disengagement, diversification, and growth, in the end failing at each. As Churchill and Lewis (1983) explained, a small business can remain in the survival stage for many years, seeming to neither gain ground nor fall too far back. Jack Hudson could not grasp that every time he decentralized decision making, the firm grew. When he felt threatened by competition or environmental factors, such as computerized estimating, he tried to shrink the company back to a size that he thought he could self-manage. Jack Hudson was an accomplished carpenter and a good salesman, but he lacked competence as a business manager. It took over twenty years for him to recognize that accurate information processing, particularly job costs, was so beneficial in terms of managing cash flow and making investment decisions. During some cycles, AAA seemed to stay afloat in spite of its constant efforts to go under.
Implications for Family Business Executives
The history of AAA Construction exemplifies the tendency of family firms to plan inadequately for the future (Kellermanns & Eddleston, 2004). The focus on sales to the detriment of operational integrity was a key element in AAA’s demise. As Mintzberg (1994) has noted, family firm founders’ hesitancy to share critical information with others, even family members engaged in the firm, restricts input and hampers growth. Many choose to remain committed to a previously successful strategy that had been established in a completely different business environment (Ward, 1987).
AAA Construction illustrates the destructive force of not preparing family successors before circumstances, in this case Jack Hudson’s untimely illness, make that process extremely difficult. In addition, the so-called guarding of critical information greatly impeded the potential of the firm to transition to the business environment of the new millennium. Instead, Hudson’s successor, grandson David Robbins, focused his efforts on sales and promotions, practiced an absentee management style, and purged nonfamily employees who were integral to the firm’s success. By not fully understanding the tenuous nature of cash flow that had been an issue for much of AAA’s life, Robbins missed the one significant signal that he needed to heed. His solution was to turn to his grandmother for needed capital, eventually exhausting her resources.
The potential value of life cycle research for family firms is yet to be appreciated. The stark difference between family firms that remain mired in the survival stage earning marginal returns versus those that take off (Churchill & Lewis, 1983) and grow large are substantial. Mintzberg (1994) suggests the family businesses that take off and become large and prosperous practice open communication and participation, as nonfamily firm members are encouraged to contribute to organizational goal setting and problem solving. Understanding how and when to implement this management style in a family business for founders and successors could be a result of extensive life cycle research.
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David L. Lester, Middle Tennessee State University
John A. Parnell, University of North Carolina at Pembroke
About the Authors
Donald L. Lester is an Associate Professor of Management at Middle Tennessee State University. He earned his Ph.D. in strategic management from the University of Memphis. His research interests include small business strategy, the strategy-performance relationship, and organizational life cycle.
Dr. Lester has published in such journals as the International Journal of Organizational Analysis, Management Decision, the Journal of Business & Entrepreneurship, and the International Journal of Management and Decision Making. He is the co-author of a forthcoming text on organizational theory.
John A. Parnell is the William Henry Belk Distinguished Professor of Management at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. He earned his Ph.D. in strategic management from the University of Memphis. His research interests include generic strategic typology development, the strategy-performance relationship, and organizational life cycle.
Dr. Parnell has published over 150 peer-reviewed articles in academic journals. He is the author of a textbook on strategic management and the co-author of a forthcoming text on organizational theory.
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