Title: The role of board of directors in the internationalisation process of small and medium sized family businesses

Authors: Andrea Calabro, Donata Mussolino, Morten Huse

Addresses: Department of Business Studies, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Via Columbia 2, 00133, Rome, Italy. ' Department of Business Administration, Second University of Naples, C. Gran Priorato di Malta 1, 81043, Capua, Italy. ' Norwegian School of Management BI, Nydalsveien 37, 0484, Oslo, Norway; University of Rome, Tor Vergata, Via Columbia 2, 00133, Rome, Italy

Abstract: Internationalisation is one of the biggest challenges for family businesses. Although prosperous locally, many of these firms often face several difficulties in entering foreign markets. To date, there are contrasting results with respect to the internationalisation behaviour of family businesses and the role of boards of directors in this process. Adopting the resource-based view of the firm, the paper focuses on the determinants of the internationalisation pathways taken by family businesses. Basing on a sample of 146 small and medium sized Norwegian family businesses, we find that the board is an important strategic resource contributing to their international expansion. The results highlight the existence of various relationships between board member characteristics, board tasks performance and the export intensity. In particular, we find that family businesses with higher levels of non-family board members are more likely to be international. Moreover, we find that boards| involvement in advisory tasks contributes positively to the export intensity. The implications for theory and practice and future research directions are discussed.

Keywords: family business; export intensity; internationalisation; board of directors; non-family board members; advisory tasks; family firms; SMEs; small and medium-sized enterprises; Norway; exports.

DOI: 10.1504/IJGSB.2009.032259

International Journal of Globalisation and Small Business, 2009 Vol.3 No.4, pp.393 - 411

Received: 19 May 2009
Accepted: 05 Dec 2009

Published online: 18 Mar 2010 *

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