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Purpose: The aim of this article is an attempt to prove the hypothesis, that one of the key obstacles for growth of Polish SMEs is a lack of management succession, understood as the employment of a professional management team and/or allowing for an external investor. Design/methodology/approach: In this article the authors used external studies, industry reports and data published by domestic and international statistical offices and financial institutions. In order to draw conclusions, the authors used the comparative analysis of available statistical data and case studies of five Polish companies listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. Findings: Findings include: 1. characteristics of the SME sector and its importance for the Polish economy, 2. explaining the role of management succession in the growth of the company and identifying barriers to this process, 3. indicating relationship between size/success of the company and presence of professional management and corporate governance, 4. presenting the impact of institutional environment on management succession, 5. showing the relationship between success of selected Polish companies and their management succession model. Research limitations/implications: The space of management succession in Polish companies has never been a subject to any comprehensive research neither in the theoretical, nor in statistical dimension. To better understand the actual scope, forms, limitations and effects of the succession, the authors made an empirical research based on a representative sample of 200 Polish SMEs. Findings from this research will be published in a separate paper. Practical implications: The authors see the practical effects of sharing the results of this research mainly in the possibility of changing the skeptical behavior of Polish entrepreneurs towards management succession.