The Internationalization of Family Firms – New article in Family Business Review

The Witten Institute for Family Business (WIFU) is pleased to announce that Professor Andrea Calabrò, Ph.D and Thilo Pukall, both from the Chair for Business Administration and Family Entrepreneurship, have  published an article in the renowned journal Family Business Review in June, which is the leading journal for family business research (2012 Journal Citation Reports® ranking: no. 19 out of 116 journals in business research, impact factor 2.622).

Professor Calabrò, Ph.D. and Thilo Pukall investigate in their article the current research status of the field of family firm internationalization. Based on a review and critical examination of 72 journal articles published from 1980 to 2012, the authors find that the literature focuses on four themes – family firm heterogeneity, internationalization processes, relationships and networks, and firm-level resources and capabilities – but that research findings are inconsistent. To reconcile inconsistent findings, the paper provides a theoretical framework for understanding the internationalization of family firms.

The framework proposes that internationalization is driven by triggers such as external board members and incoming generations, on the one hand, but is slowed down by the reluctance of family principals (family firm owners) to commit to the establishment of partnerships and the necessary learning about foreign markets. In the framework, the impact of such triggers and the reluctance to engage in international markets is reduced or enlarged depending on how family firm owners frame the performance of the business. If the business is performing below aspirations, family principals will be more likely to engage in internationalization efforts in order to improve the situation compared to non-family firms. If the firm is performing above aspirations, family business owners will be more likely to avoid internationalization in order to safeguard the current performance in comparison to non-family firms.

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Picture - Calabrò & Pukall