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Family Firms Venturing into International Markets: A Resource Dependence Perspective
by Lucia Naldi and Mattias Nordqvist, SE 551 11 Jönköping, Sweden,  pages. Under contract no.SBAHQ-07-M-0364
In today’s global marketplace there are competitive pressures for all firms to internationalize. Family firms face specific resource challenges when it comes to their internationalization. Many of these challenges are inherent in their governance structure, which tend to distinguish them from other types of firms. Drawing on resource dependence theory, we expect the degree of openness/closeness in the governance structure of family firms to influence internationalization. We view family firms with an open governance structure as those with external owners, external CEO, external board members, and large top management teams. Longitudinal data from 325 family firms reveal that expansion across foreign markets (i.e. international scope) is favored by opening up all levels of the firm’s governance structure, that is by having external ownership, external board members, external CEO and large TMTs. Penetration within foreign markets (i.e. international scale), on the other hand, is favored by opening up the top management level alone, that is by having an external CEO and a large TMT. These results encourage further looks into the resources that non-family actors bring to the business and their contribution to internationalization strategies.
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