Family business internationalization: an insight into opportunities and challenges

  • Ilan Alon
  • Silvia Ranfagni
  • Tiziano Vescovi
  • Donata Vianelli


The theme of internationalization in family businesses is a highly topical issue that is increasingly attracting management scholars. This is because, in addition of being a particular type of business (Alcorn, 1982), they play a central role in most economies worldwide. Accounting for 65-80 percent of all the world’s firms, they generate around 70-90 percent of annual global GDP, and are the source of 50-80 percent of new jobs in most countries. Their essence lies in the close bond they have with their founders and above all, in the family’s involvement in the business ownership and management (Franco and Prata, 2019). This bond may prove to be a limit for fuelling internationalization processes. If, in fact, on the one hand, a moderate level of family ownership favors them (Fernández and Nieto, 2005), on the other, family involvement in management can jeopardize them (Graves and Thomas, 2008). The main barriers are found in a lack of resources, capital and managerial skills. Others include the fear of losing control of the business and the founders’ reluctance to decentralize decision-making in favor of experts from outside the family (Tabor et al., 2018). … to be continued


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