The generational succession in family firms is a typical and inevitable event in corporate evolution. In particular, the Italian production system must constantly reckon with generational succession as it affects about 80,000 companies annually. It is very important that this process is carefully managed because, in Italy, only 31% of family firms survive their founder and only 13% go on to the third generation.
The aim of this paper is to indicate the most frequent mistakes made by family firms during the generational transition, through the identification of best practices summarized in six building blocks collected from the literature. In order to substantiate the theoretical argumentations, the article analyzes a case study concerning the family firm Mapei S.p.A., which has recently faced its second generational handover through a virtuous process in all its aspects.