Special Issue on: "Internationalisation and Globalisation of Family Businesses in the Arab Countries"
Dr. Sami Basly, University of Paris Nanterre, France
Dr. Hani El Chaarani, Beirut Arab University, Lebanon
The majority of businesses in the Arab world are family businesses (PricewaterHouseCoopers, 2016). As these firms, whether medium-sized or larger ones, play a significant role in employment and wealth creation, they are the main growth engine of these countries. However, despite their prominence, we have very limited knowledge about the specific characteristics of these firms in this region of the world. In particular, since family businesses are weakly studied in management and business research, academic and practitioner knowledge pertaining to these businesses remains superficial despite recent intellectual contributions shedding light on some of their peculiarities (Basly et al., 2017). Undoubtedly, family businesses located and operating in the Arab countries face numerous challenges critical to their survival and to the economic and social welfare of this region of the world (Davis et al, 2000). Winning the gamble of internationalisation is particularly crucial in the Arab countries for overcoming economic difficulties. Even though these countries have initiated international openness through exports and the attraction of FDI since the 1970s, their contribution to world trade flows remains low and their international competitiveness – as well as that of their local firms – is weak (Alaya et al., 2017). Following the Arab Spring, the Arab economies have been traumatised by political instability, and this has had a tremendous impact on firms in these countries, as many of them have suffered from the consequences of revolts, riots or civil wars.
From the second half of the 20th century, family businesses in the Arab countries played a key role in attracting foreign direct investment, as they have usually acted as privileged partners of international and multinational firms exporting to these countries or choosing to set up joint-ventures or subsidiaries. However, apart from few examples of large conglomerates from the Middle East and the Gulf, few Arab family businesses have adopted proactive outward internationalisation through direct exports or foreign investment.
While there is a set of empirical contributions on firms’ internationalisation in some of these countries (e.g. Omri and Becuwe, 2014), few studies are specific to family-owned enterprises since research has generally dealt with firms in these countries without emphasising the importance of family ownership or control for internationalisation. Thus, the influence the owning family may have on business internationalisation is almost unstudied in such a context. Yet, the internationalisation of family businesses cannot be analysed without taking into account the goals, values and culture of the owning family (Gallo and Pont, 1996; Pukall and Calabrò, 2014; Reuber, 2016). Given that the socio-cultural environment of the Arab world is specific and that culture, values and beliefs of individuals and society are unique, their impact on business and firms’ management is not negligible (Gupta and Levenburg, 2010). Furthermore, an abundant amount of literature has focused on the internationalisation of family businesses over the last thirty years (e.g. Kontinen and Ojala, 2010 or Pukall and Calabrò, 2014), but very few studies have been carried out in the context of Arab countries, and our knowledge about the influence of this context on firms’ internationalisation is lacking.
Alaya M., Basly S., Saunier PL. (2017) Family Businesses in the Arab Economic Context. In: Basly S. (eds) Family Businesses in the Arab World. Contributions to Management Science. Springer, Cham
Basly, S. (Eds). (2017). Family Businesses in the Arab World. Contributions to Management Science. Springer, Cham
Gupta, V., & Levenburg, N. (2010). A Thematic Analysis of Cultural Variations in Family Businesses: The CASE Project. Family Business Review, 23(2), 155–169.
Davis, J., Pitts, E. L., & Cormier, K. (2000). Challenges Facing Family Companies in the Gulf Region. Family Business Review, 13(3), 217–238.
Kontinen, J. & Ojala, A. (2010). The internationalization of family business: A review of extant research. Journal of Family Business Strategy, 1(2), 97–107.
Omri, W., & Becuwe, A. (2014). Managerial characteristics and entrepreneurial internationalization: A study of Tunisian SMEs. Journal of International Entrepreneurship, 12(1), 8–42.
PricewaterHouseCoopers (2016). 2016 Middle East Family Business Survey. Online report. Available at: http://www.pwc.com/m1/en/publications/family-business-survey.html. Accessed 15 January 2017.
Pukall, T. J., & Calabro, A. (2014). The Internationalization of Family Firms: A Critical Review and Integrative Model. Family Business Review, 27(2), 103–125.
Reuber, A. R. (2016). An Assemblage-Theoretic Perspective on the Internationalization Processes of Family Firms. Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, 40(6), 1269–1286.
Suitable topics include, but are not limited, to the following:
- What are the specific motivations and determinants (push and pull factors) of Arab family businesses' internationalisation?
- How do family business owners' characteristics (demographic, social, familial, etc.) relate to firms' internationalisation?
- Is there a link between culture and values and the proclivity of family business owners to seek opportunities abroad?
- How do Islamic and other religious values influence owning families' attitudes towards internationalisation?
- What are the pace, rhythm and scope of the internationalisation process of Arab family businesses?
- What is the scope of inter-Arab family businesses internationalisation? What are the characteristics of regional family businesses?
- Are there privileged entry modes adopted during the internationalisation process of Arab family businesses?
- Do Arab family businesses internationalise differently than non-family businesses?
- What is the role of extended families and ethnic communities in firms' internationalisation? (e.g. Moroccan Berbers, Lebanese diaspora)
- Does the professionalisation of Arab family firms lead to increasing internationalisation?
- How does succession influence the internationalisation of Arab family firms?
- What is the influence of the political and regulatory contexts in the Arab countries on family businesses internationalisation? With the aim of gathering major and significant academic work on family businesses in the Arab world, other significant topics relevant to family businesses in the Arab area could be explored. For example, prospective authors can submit papers addressing the following questions:
- Does the cultural specificity of Arab family firms shape the governance and management of these firms?
- What is the influence that specific values in the Arab world could exert on the management of family firms? How do spiritual and religious values influence business in family firms?
- How do emotions influence the management of family firms in the Arab world?
- Is there any specificity of innovation carried out by Arab family firms?
- Are there particularities in financial decisions taken by Arab family businesses?
- Do Arab family firms deal differently (from their Western counterparts) with social pressures and corporate social responsibility?
- What impact, if any, do political regimes and systems have on family firms in the Arab world?
- What is specific to the succession process for Arab family firms?
Notes for Prospective Authors
Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. (N.B. Conference papers may only be submitted if the paper has been completely re-written and if appropriate written permissions have been obtained from any copyright holders of the original paper).
All papers are refereed through a peer review process.
All papers must be submitted online. To submit a paper, please read our Submitting articles page.
Manuscripts due by: 1 April, 2019
Notification to authors: 1 June, 2019
Final versions due by: 1 August, 2019