Title: Exploring the Bulgarian family SMEs' reluctance to internationalise

Authors: Tsvetan P. Davidkov; Desislava I. Yordanova

Addresses: Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Sofia University 'St. Kliment Ohridski', 1113 Sofia, 125 Tsarigradsko Shose Blvd., bl.3, Bulgaria ' Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Sofia University 'St. Kliment Ohridski', 1113 Sofia, 125 Tsarigradsko Shose Blvd., bl.3, Bulgaria

Abstract: This study explores the reasons for family SMEs' reluctance to go to foreign markets. It contributes to the fields of family business and international business by providing a conceptual model and hypotheses about organisational and owner-manager's characteristics which mediate the effect of the family business status on SME internationalisation. The proposed hypotheses are tested in a sample of Bulgarian family and non-family SMEs offering empirical evidence about SME internationalisation in a transition context. Our findings reveal that the presence of foreign owners and entrepreneurial orientation are able to mediate the negative effect of family business status on the odds of internationalisation. Contrary to expectations, owner-manager's tenure and education level, access to finance, and learning orientation do not account for differences in internationalisation between family and non-family SMEs. This paper provides a discussion of practical implications and recommendations for future research.

Keywords: SME internationalisation; family SMEs; Bulgaria; organisational factors; family firms; family business; small and medium-sized enterprises; foreign markets; conceptual models; foreign ownership; entrepreneurial orientation; owner-manager tenure; education level; access to finance; learning orientation; entrepreneurship.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBG.2016.077570

International Journal of Business and Globalisation, 2016 Vol.17 No.1, pp.123 - 148

Received: 10 Mar 2015
Accepted: 06 Jul 2015

Published online: 06 Jul 2016 *

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