Internationalization of family firms: the effect of ownership and governance
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Despite family firm?s dominant role in economies worldwide, there is little empirical knowledge on their internationalization. Drawing on a sample of Austrian firms, this paper investigates the impact of family influence and various governance factors on internationalization. The findings reveal an inverted U-shaped relationship between family influence and internationalization. Family firms with medium family influence are the most internationally active companies. This indicates that concerning internationalization the advantages of being a family firm are highest when the family?s ownership share and involvement in management and governance boards is not too extensive. Additionally, neither the incumbent generation, nor the level of non-family executives in the management board, nor the existence of a supervisory board has a significant influence on going international. Since advisory boards seem to foster internationalization, they might be an adjuvant means of equipping family firms with the necessary capabilities, know-how and contacts to operate internationally.