Internationalization and networking of family firms in developing countries


Institution: Università degli studi di Bergamo
Year: 2015
Keywords: ING-IND/35 - Ingegneria Economico-Gestionale
Record ID: 1225096
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10446/31955


This dissertation investigates the internationalization and networking behaviors, characteristics, and processes of family firms in developing countries, and, more specifically, the international opportunity recognition; entrepreneurial networks; and the Internationalization of family and non-family firms from a developing countries perspective. The current thesis consists of an introductory essay, and three research articles. The ultimate purpose of this thesis is to develop a theoretical and empirical understanding of how family firms internationalize in the context of developing countries with focusing on the importance of networks. It also aims at obtaining more understanding about how entrepreneurial networks change across generations in family firms. To this end, an exploratory case study design was employed to explore 20 Palestinian family and non-family firm cases, gathering qualitative data through in-depth, semi-structured interviews. Secondary materials were collected. Analysis of these case studies suggested that family firms recognize international opportunities depending on both social and business ties, but business\formal ties seemed more important at all internationalization stages than social\informal ties. The entrepreneurs in developing countries are more proactive than those in developed countries. Moreover, the entrepreneurial networks in present generation are diverse, flexible and dynamic; while in prior generation were limited in size, static and uniform. Prior generations had informal, personal, and friendship relationships, while the new generations seem more formal, objective and professional. Furthermore, the differences between the internationalization process of family and non-family firms are in speed, performance, and networks “insidership” that were higher for non-family firms. There are no significant differences between family and non-family firms in terms of foreign market selection; choosing entry mode; and forming networks. Finally, International businesses in developing economies compared to developed economies are characterized as follows: exports are the main foreign entry modes; psychic distance is not important; learning process is slow; and Internationalization is unstructured process.