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The internationalization of small and medium-sized enterprises: the effect of family management, human capital and foreign ownership

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  • Daniele Cerrato

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  • Mariacristina Piva

Abstract

Research on factors affecting the internationalization of SMEs is attracting growing interest. However, only a limited number of empirical analyses have explored the question of if and to what extent the family character of the firm has an effect on internationalization decisions. Relying on data from a sample of 1,324 Italian manufacturing SMEs, this paper shows that involvement of the owning family in management negatively influences export propensity but, once the choice to go international has been made, both the degree of internationalization and geographical scope in family-managed firms are not significantly different from nonfamily-managed firms. Empirical results also show that the level of human capital and the presence of foreign shareholders in the SMEs positively influence internationalization. Innovation propensity, size, and age of the firm as well as industry characteristics are included in the analysis as control variables. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Daniele Cerrato & Mariacristina Piva, 2012. "The internationalization of small and medium-sized enterprises: the effect of family management, human capital and foreign ownership," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 16(4), pages 617-644, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jmgtgv:v:16:y:2012:i:4:p:617-644
    DOI: 10.1007/s10997-010-9166-x
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    Keywords

    Internationalization; Family business; SMEs;

    JEL classification:

    • L21 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Business Objectives of the Firm
    • M16 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - International Business Administration

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