This is a call for chapters on family firm (FF) internationalization for Scholarly Handbook published by Palgrave Macmillan. The book is focused on the role of FF-specific views and networks in their internationalization, the actual internationalization process and FFs internationalizing from or to Emerging Markets in special. Both empirical and conceptual work is welcome.
Title of the Book: Scholarly Handbook of Family Firm Internationalization
Tanja Leppäaho (LUT University) and Sarah Jack (Lancaster University School of
publication time: Spring 2021
Family Firms (FFs) form the majority (about 80%) of all firms around the world and they account for an enormous percentage of the employment, the revenues, and the GDP of most capitalist countries (EFB, 2012). As of now, their value as a an engine of stability and long-term growth and prosperity, simultaneously acting as natural incubators of an entrepreneurial culture, fostering the next generation of European entrepreneurs, has been finally recognized and tools to help them have been hoped for (European Commission, 2015).
Although it was long
thought that large multinational corporations had an overwhelming position in
international business (Oviatt & McDougall, 1994), it has recently been recognised that
substantial numbers of entrepreneurial and family firms are active in the
international arena (Casillas
& Acedo, 2005). FF internationalization has become an important research
area both practically and politically, and now also theoretically (see e.g.
Arregle et al., 2017). The unification of ownership and management enables the
CEO e.g. to make opportunistic investments and/or rely on intuition (Gedajlovic
et al., 2004). Hence, FFs have the potential to adapt to changing environments,
launch products, and enter markets that investor-controlled or managerially led
firms are unable to address (Dyer & Whetten, 2006). In adverse economic
conditions, family firms have been found to sustain more profitable businesses
than firms with other ownership structures (Sirmon & Hitt, 2003).
It has been recognized that FF internationalization
differs from those by firms owned via other types of ownership structures, but
we are still missing nuanced, in-depth understanding of the FF-specific
features related to their long-term existence, family-intertwinement in
ownership and management, especially high level of trust inside the firm, etc.
(Arregle et al., 2017; Kontinen & Ojala, 2010; Pukall & Calabro, 2014;
Reuber, 2016). The number of studies on FF internationalization is,
fortunately, constantly growing: the review by Kontinen and Ojala in 2010 was
based on 25 articles, whereas the most recent one (Leppäaho et al., 2016) was
based on 158 articles. However, very recently Arregle et al.
(2017, p. 1) summarized that the need for in-depth nuances still exists: ”the
extant conceptual and empirical research on internationalization indicates that
family involvement matters for
internationalization, yet the precise consequences of this involvement
remain unclear”. In the current scholarly handbook, the focus will be on the
features making FF internationalization different: their long-term existence;
their special type of network ties; the theoretical views explaining the
specific features of FFs combined with internationalization views.
distinctive features of Family Firms (FFs) are related to their human,
family-oriented and longitudinal nature. FFs are typically passed from
generation to generation, with constant triggers for change. The triggers can
involve changes in the family (births, deaths, illnesses, conflicts), in the
business (changes in markets, technology, competitive situation, institutions),
and in ownership (involving e.g. changes of ownership from founders to siblings
or to cousins, disengagements, the selling of shares outside the family, the
sale of business lines, etc.) (Gersick et al.,, 1997). The theoretical
perspectives explaining distinctiveness of FFs
include agency theory (Karra et al., 2006), the concept of stewardship
(Le Breton-Miller & Miller, 2009), a resource-based view (Chrisman et al.,
2005), and the socioemotional wealth (SEW) perspective (Gomez-Mejia et al.,
2011), among others.
has indeed been recognized as a central reflection point and driver for the
strategic decision-making and behavior of FBs (e.g., Berrone et al.,, 2012),
serving as the “defining feature of a family business […] central, enduring,
and unique to the dominant family owner, influencing everything the firm does”
(Gomez-Mejia et al., 2011, p. 692). However, we know very little of the role of
these conceptual and theoretical perspectives in their internationalization
process (Leppäaho et al., 2016).
The most applied definitions regard internationalization as “the process of increasing involvement in international operations” (Welch & Luostarinen, 1988, p. 36) or “the process by which firms both increase their awareness of the direct and indirect influence of international transactions on their future, and establish and conduct transactions with other countries” (Beamish, 1990, p. 77). However, within the discipline of FF internationalization, there has been a tendency to produce static findings by studying internationalization through one-shot, cross-sectional studies, using correlational analytical methodologies (McAuley, 2010; Welch & Paavilainen-Mäntymäki, 2014) with minimal context-embeddedness (Leppäaho, et al., 2016) – despite the fact that internationalization is a process, and that approaches incorporating time, dynamism, and longitudinal observations are needed if a solid process theory is to be built.
as firms offer a fruitful context to study internationalization through a
process perspective: FFs possess certain processual features that are typical
of them (though not necessarily unique to them). Thus, they may be passed on
from generation to generation and even over centuries, with numerous processes
between the business, family members, and ownership constantly taking place and
influencing each other (Gersick et al., 1997). The strategy management process
of FBs differs from that of non-FBs, shaped as it is by family goals, interests
and culture, the involvement of both family and nonfamily members in management
and governance, sibling relationships, and succession (Sharma et al.,
1997). Succession processes are critical
for knowledge and skill transfer between different generations (Davis &
Harveston 1998), and new generations may possess higher propensities and
capabilities to promote internationalization (e.g. Calabro et al., 2016). The
different generations and family members involved in the FB may also attach
differing importance to SEW and its different dimensions, which include family
continuity, family prominence, and family enrichment (Debicki et al., 2016).
Thus, founding family owners may be more inclined to preserve SEW and hence
resist internationalization than later generations (Fang et al., 2018).
Family ownership influences both inside-the-firm and
outside-the firm network ties (Arregle et al., 2007; Salvato & Melin,
2008). FFs typically possess network ties with a high level of trust, closeness
and long-term commitment (Arregle et
al., 2007; Roessl, 2005; Zellweger et al., 2018), but how this
influences on their international network ties has been very little touched
upon (Kampouri et al., 2017; Kontinen & Ojala, 2010;
Kontinen & Ojala, 2012; Pukall & Calabro, 2014). Like stated
above, this scholarly handbook tackles important viewpoints of FF
internationalization process, as per suggestion of e.g. Kontinen and Ojala
(2010), Pukall and Calabro (2014), Reuber (2016) Arregle at al. (2017),
Kampouri et al. (2017) and Leppäaho et al. (2016).
scholarly handbook will have four specific core areas, with 5-6 chapters
i. FF-specific views and
iii. Networks in FF
internationalization in and from Asia and Emerging Markets
preliminary timetable (subject to changes) is as follows:
15, 2019: Submission of a 1-2-page proposal of the book chapter
15: Decision on accepted chapters (informed directly to authors)
30, 2019: Submission of the first draft of the book chapter
2020: Letter on the needed revisions (to the authors)
May 2020: Submission of a revised version of the book chapter
January 2021: Planned publication of the handbook
empirical and conceptual work is welcome. Please address your questions and send
your chapter proposal, with an indication under which sub-theme of the book it
is written for, in a PDF form to firstname.lastname@example.org by
August 15, 2019. See also http://ife.fi
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