International entrepreneurship in small family firms: a cross-case analysis

  • Michela Floris
  • Cinzia Dessì
  • Angela Dettori
Keywords: international entrepreneurship; internationalization; small family firm

Abstract

Purpose of the paper: This study aims to identify the main drivers that spur family entrepreneurs to implement internationalization strategies in a social and geographical context that appears to be anchored in the past and does not stimulate business development overseas.

Methodology: This study employs a cross-case analysis, which is the most suitable method to highlight similarities and differences across cases. In order to gather and analyze the data, this study adopted an inductive approach.

Results: Novel best practices are revealed and help to enhance international entrepreneurship in a difficult setting of reluctance to change and loyalty to a past-anchored culture. Moreover, the findings show which elements encourage and discourage international entrepreneurship. Finally, the study offers an interpretive model derived for the interpretation of similar cases.

Research limitations: The main drawback of the study is its explorative analysis of a small sample of family firms.

Academic and practical implications: From a theoretical perspective, this study contributes to the literature on the international entrepreneurship of small family firms that are embedded in hostile contexts by identifying the main drivers that promote internationalization. For practitioners, this study offers best practices to inspire successful resilient behaviors and decisions for firms that desire to sell their products all over the world.

Originality of the paper: The study elucidates the relevance of the family, firm and context as the main drivers in improving international entrepreneurship by balancing contextual obstacles with entrepreneurs’ ambitions of international growth and development.

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Published
2020-08-31