Title: The alchemy of family enterprises' internationalisation: dexterous movers or prodigal laggards?

Authors: Beate Cesinger; Ricarda Bouncken; Viktor Fredrich; Sascha Kraus

Addresses: Groupe Sup de Co Montpellier Business School, 2300, Avenue des Moulins, 34185 Montpellier, France ' University of Bayreuth, Prieserstr. 2, D-95444, Bayreuth, Germany ' University of Bayreuth, Prieserstr. 2, D-95444, Bayreuth, Germany ' School of Economics (USE), Utrecht University, Janskerkhof 12, NL-3512 BL, Utrecht, The Netherlands; University of Liechtenstein, Fürst-Franz-Josef-Strasse, FL-9490 Vaduz, Liechtenstein

Abstract: Our empirical study among 112 German firms investigates how psychic distance, cultural distance and relative perceived performance impact the speed of internationalisation among family firms vs. non-family firms. Using partial least squares structural equation modelling, we uncovered two significant findings: family enterprises internationalise significantly slower than non-family enterprises and psychic distance is a distinct internationalisation barrier for family enterprises. Further, active motivation for success remains a driving force, while a phlegmatic pace can be observed once a saturation effect has occurred. Accordingly, firms with a medium level of relative perceived performance approach international markets proactively. Focusing on perceptions of the decision maker in family vs. non-family firms, we offer a nuanced perspective on internationalisation speed. The observed effects indicate that actors' subjective reality impacts the proactivity of international market entry.

Keywords: international entrepreneurship; family firms; psychic distance; cultural distance; entrepreneurs; internationalisation; German firms; Germany; motivation; SEM; structural equation modelling; proactivity; family businesses; perceived performance.

DOI: 10.1504/EJIM.2014.064902

European Journal of International Management, 2014 Vol.8 No.6, pp.671 - 696

Available online: 27 Aug 2014 *

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