To Be or Not to Be: When Should a Threshold Firm in an Emerging Market Move to Professional Management?
Recent research emphasizes the importance of the separation of ownership and control for growing threshold firms. Demand for specialized management knowledge by growing owner-run SMEs is usually resolved through the separation of ownership and control, using top management labor market and agency contracts. Under certain environmental institutional conditions, owners of SMEs from emerging markets face difficulties separating ownership and control. For example, the majority of Russian companies are run by their primary owners. In rare situations when separation of ownership and control formally occurs, high risk of economic fraud and owner’s fear often revert management succession to a default owner-control scenario. These conditions pose a threat for a growing threshold firm needing professional management knowledge assets. Using a dataset of 500 entrepreneurial companies from fast growing industries in St. Petersburg and Moscow, this study defines and studies threshold firms and also analyzes how various perceived characteristics of the institutional environment are influencing the probability of separation of ownership and control in threshold firms. According to the estimation results institutional factors such as poor security of ownership rights and misfit of company with formal regulatory norms have a negative impact on the probability of separation of ownership and control in threshold firms. As a result, threshold firms limit their growth possibilities since their access to specialized knowledge is limited to the knowledge base of the owner.
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