Internationalization via strategic alliances in family businesses.
Gallo, Miguel A.
It has been observed in previous studies that certain characteristics of family businesses may impede internationalization. These characteristics include the concentration of decision-making in the hands of a single shareholder or small group of shareholders, delays in the succession process, aversion to internationalization, etc. Despite these obstacles, a large number of family businesses have chosen to internationalize as a means of revitalizing themselves. The results of the study reported here indicate three important pre-requisites for family businesses that are seriously considering internationalization as an aid to growth: they need to have a market-leading product, adequate financial resources, and a suitable organizational structure. Apart from these preliminary conditions, the example of the family businesses studied here demonstrates that success in forming and developing strategic alliances for internationalization also leads to: 1) an enhanced ability to manage in contexts in which objectives are not necessarily shared; 2) stronger personal preferences for the use of alliances; and 3) a deeper trust in the partner organization. The most interesting result of this study is that, contradicting previous literature in the family business field, it shows that family firms' intrinsic characteristics are not the real barrier to internationalization. Rather, the most powerful determinant of successful internationalization appears to be the owner-manager's personal commitment to the long-term survival of the family business.
family business; strategic alliances; internationalization; emerging economies;
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