Conclusions: Implications of Family Firm Internationalisation from a Network Perspective

  • Tanja LeppäahoEmail author
  • Jaakko Metsola


In this chapter, we summarise the contents of this book, from main findings to implications. The findings do not only align with the earlier literature on FF internationalisation, but make international networking more pertinent as a significant motor for successful internationalisation. The key message is that both narrow maximisation and broad enabling of foreign network ties can yield successful internationalisation for FFs. In addition to industry and other contextual factors, the success in either case is based on how FFs leverage their internal capabilities, such as social capital and long-term orientation, but also externally complement their internal liabilities, such as lack of resources and competence, for the optimal international networking strategy and path. Finding the golden mean between economic and noneconomic (SEW) goals is not easy. However, tackling bifurcation bias and related dysfunctional effects is critical for the ability of FFs to expand overseas.


Narrow network maximiser Broad network enabler Summary Implications Context 


  1. Alessandri, T. M., Cerrato, D., & Eddleston, K. A. (2018). The mixed gamble of internationalization in family and nonFFs: The moderating role of organizational slack. Global Strategy Journal, 8(1), 46–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arregle, J. L., Duran, P., Hitt, M. A., & Van Essen, M. (2017). Why is family firms’ internationalization unique? A Meta-Analysis: Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 41(5), 801–831.Google Scholar
  3. Arregle, J. L., Naldi, L., Nordqvist, M., & Hitt, M. A. (2012). Internationalization of family-controlled firms: A study of the effects of external involvement in governance. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 36(6), 1115–1143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baronchelli, G., Bettinelli, C., Del Bosco, B., & Loane, S. (2016). The impact of family involvement on the investments of Italian small-medium enterprises in psychically distant countries. International Business Review, 25(4), 960–970.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bell, J. (1995). The internationalization of small computer software firms: A further challenge to “stage” theories. European Journal of Marketing, 29(8), 60–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Berrone, P., Cruz, C., & Gomez-Mejia, L. R. (2012). Socioemotional wealth in family firms: Theoretical dimensions, assessment approaches, and agenda for future research. Family Business Review, 25(3), 258–279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bhaumik, S. K., Driffield, N., & Pal, S. (2010). Does ownership structure of emerging-market firms affect their outward FDI? The case of the Indian automotive and pharmaceutical sectors. Journal of International Business Studies, 41, 437–450.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cantwell, J., Dunning, J. H., & Lundan, S. M. (2010). An evolutionary approach to understanding international business activity: The co-evolution of MNEs and the institutional environment. Journal of International Business Studies, 41(4), 567–586.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Carney, M., Duran, P., Van Essen, M., & Shapiro, D. (2017). Family firms, internationalization, and national competitiveness: Does family firm prevalence matter? Journal of Family Business Strategy, 8(3), 123–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cesinger, B., Bouncken, R., Fredrich, V., & Kraus, S. (2014). The alchemy of family enterprises’ internationalisation: Dexterous movers or prodigal laggards? European Journal of International Management, 8(6), 671–696.Google Scholar
  11. Chen, H.-L. (2011). Internationalization in Taiwanese family firms. Global Journal of Business Research, 5(4), 15–23.Google Scholar
  12. D’Angelo, A., Majocchi, A., & Buck, T. (2016). External managers, family ownership and the scope of SME internationalization. Journal of World Business, 51(4), 534–547.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. De Massis, A., Frattini, F., Majocchi, A., & Piscitello, L. (2018). Family firms in the global economy: Toward a deeper understanding of internationalization determinants, processes, and outcomes. Global Strategy Journal, 8(1), 3–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Delios, A. (2017). The death and rebirth (?) of international business research. Journal of Management Studies, 54(3), 391–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Duran, P., Kostova, T., & Van Essen, M. (2017). Political ideologies and the internationalization of family-controlled firms. Journal of World Business, 52(4), 474–488.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Eberhard, M., & Craig, J. (2013). The evolving role of organisational and personal networks in international market venturing. Journal of World Business, 48(3), 385–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fernandez, Z., & Nieto, M. J. (2005). Internationalization strategy of small and medium-sized family businesses: Some influential factors. Family Business Review, 18(1), 77–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gallo, M. A., & Pont, C. G. (1996). Important factors in family business internationalization. Family Business Review, 9(1), 45–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gomez-Mejia, L. R., Makri, M., & Kintana, M. L. (2010). Diversification decisions in family-controlled firms. Journal of Management Studies, 47(2), 223–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Graves, C., & Shan, Y. G. (2014). An empirical analysis of the effect of internationalization on the performance of unlisted family and nonfamily firms in Australia. Family Business Review, 27(2), 142–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Graves, C., & Thomas, J. (2004). Internationalisation of the family business: A longitudinal perspective. International Journal of Globalisation and Small Business, 1(1), 7–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Håkanson, L., & Kappen, P. (2017). The ‘casino model’ of internationalization: An alternative Uppsala paradigm. Journal of International Business Studies, 48(9), 1103–1113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hennart, J. F., Majocchi, A., & Forlani, E. (2019). The myth of the stay-at-home family firm: How family-managed SMEs can overcome their internationalization limitations. Journal of International Business Studies, 50(5), 758–782.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Johanson, J., & Mattsson, L. G. (1988). Internationalisation in industrial systems—A network approach. In N. Hood & J. E. Vahlne (Eds.), Strategies in global competition (pp. 287–314). London: Croom Helm.Google Scholar
  25. Johanson, J., & Vahlne, J. E. (2003). Business relationship learning and commitment in the internationalization process. Journal of International Entrepreneurship, 1(1), 83–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kano, L., & Verbeke, A. (2018). FF internationalization: Heritage assets and the impact of bifurcation bias. Global Strategy Journal, 8(1), 158–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kontinen, T., & Ojala, A. (2012). Social capital in the international operations of family SMEs. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 19(1), 39–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kotlar, J., Signori, A., De Massis, A., & Vismara, S. (2018). Financial wealth, socioemotional wealth, and IPO underpricing in family firms: A two-stage gamble model. Academy of Management Journal, 61(3), 1073–1099.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kraus, S., Mensching, H., Calabro, A., Cheng, C. F., & Filser, M. (2016). Family firm internationalization: A configurational approach. Journal of Business Research, 69(11), 5473–5478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lester, R. H., & Cannella, A. A., Jr. (2006). Interorganizational familiness: How FFs use interlocking directorates to build community-level social capital. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 30(6), 755–775.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Liang, X., Wang, L., & Cui, Z. (2014). Chinese private firms and internationalization effects of family involvement in management and family ownership. Family Business Review, 27(2), 126–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Marin, Q., Hernández-Lara, A. B., Campa-Planas, F., & Sánchez-Rebull, M. V. (2017). Which factors improve the performance of the internationalization process? Focus on family firms. Applied Economics, 49(32), 3181–3194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mitter, C., Duller, C., Feldbauer-Durstmüller, B., & Kraus, S. (2014). Internationalization of family firms: The effect of ownership and governance. Review of Managerial Science, 8(1), 1–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mitter, C., & Emprechtinger, S. (2016). The role of stewardship in the internationalisation of family firms. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing, 8(4), 400–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Pongelli, C., Caroli, M. G., & Cucculelli, M. (2016). Family business going abroad: The effect of family ownership on foreign market entry mode decisions. Small Business Economics, 47(3), 787–801.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Scholes, L., Mustafa, M., & Chen, S. (2016). Internationalization of small family firms: The influence of family from a socioemotional wealth perspective. Thunderbird International Business Review, 58(2), 131–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sciascia, S., Mazzola, P., Astrachan, J. H., & Pieper, T. M. (2012). The role of family ownership in international entrepreneurship: Exploring nonlinear effects. Small Business Economics, 38(1), 15–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Sciascia, S., Mazzola, P., Astrachan, J. H., & Pieper, T. M. (2013). Family involvement in the board of directors: Effects on sales internationalization. Journal of Small Business Management, 51(1), 83–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Sestu, M. C., & Majocchi, A. (2018). Family firms and the choice between wholly owned subsidiaries and joint ventures: A transaction costs perspective. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 1–22.
  40. Sirmon, D. G., Arregle, J. L., Hitt, M. A., & Webb, J. W. (2008). The role of family influence in firms’ strategic responses to threat of imitation. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 36(6), 979–998.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Swinth, R. L., & Vinton, K. L. (1993). Do family-owned businesses have a strategic advantage in international joint ventures? Family Business Review, 6(1), 19–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Torkkeli, L., Kuivalainen, O., Saarenketo, S., & Puumalainen, K. (2016). Network competence in Finnish SMEs: Implications for growth. Baltic Journal of Management, 11(2), 207–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Zahra, S. A. (2005). Entrepreneurial risk taking in family firms. Family Business Review, 18(1), 23–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LUT UniversityLappeenrantaFinland
  2. 2.LUT UniversityLappeenrantaFinland

Personalised recommendations