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Family character and international entrepreneurship: A historical comparison of Italian and Spanish ‘new multinationals’

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  • Andrea Colli
  • Esteban Garc�a-Canal
  • Mauro F. Guill�n

Abstract

Although family firms are traditionally associated with low levels of internationalisation, this paper shows that family ownership can generate opportunities for international entrepreneurship related to the exploitation abroad of the expertise and social capital developed at home. Specifically, it argues that family character favours international expansion in at least three ways: (1) by granting more freedom to the managers of the company to develop their business model; (2) by facilitating the transfer to, and exploitation of, this model in foreign markets; and (3) by making the adoption of governance structures based upon trust easier. Drawing on a comparison between the business history of selected Spanish and Italian ‘new multinationals’, support is found for these hypotheses.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrea Colli & Esteban Garc�a-Canal & Mauro F. Guill�n, 2013. "Family character and international entrepreneurship: A historical comparison of Italian and Spanish ‘new multinationals’," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 55(1), pages 119-138, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:bushst:v:55:y:2013:i:1:p:119-138
    DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2012.687536
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Andrea Colli & Michelangelo Vasta, 2010. "Introduction: Forms of Enterprise in 20th Century Italy," Chapters, in: Andrea Colli & Michelangelo Vasta (ed.), Forms of Enterprise in 20th Century Italy, chapter 1, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Jones, Geoffrey, 2004. "Multinationals and Global Capitalism: From the Nineteenth to the Twenty First Century," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199272105.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pawel Gajewski & Grzegorz Tchorek, 2017. "What drives export performance of firms in Eastern and Western Poland?," Lodz Economics Working Papers 1/2017, University of Lodz, Faculty of Economics and Sociology.
    2. repec:ise:gheswp:wp532014 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Jean-Luc Arregle & Francesco Chirico & Liena Kano & Sumit K. Kundu & Antonio Majocchi & William S. Schulze, 2021. "Family firm internationalization: Past research and an agenda for the future," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 52(6), pages 1159-1198, August.
    4. Mikel Alayo & Txomin Iturralde & Amaia Maseda & Gloria Aparicio, 0. "Mapping family firm internationalization research: bibliometric and literature review," Review of Managerial Science, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-44.
    5. Mikel Alayo & Txomin Iturralde & Amaia Maseda & Gloria Aparicio, 2021. "Mapping family firm internationalization research: bibliometric and literature review," Review of Managerial Science, Springer, vol. 15(6), pages 1517-1560, August.
    6. Aleksandra Wąsowska, 2017. "The Internationalisation of Family Firms: the Role of the Ownership Structure and the Composition of Top Management Team," Entrepreneurial Business and Economics Review, Centre for Strategic and International Entrepreneurship at the Cracow University of Economics., vol. 5(1), pages 169-185.
    7. Liena Kano & Luciano Ciravegna & Francesco Rattalino, 2021. "The family as a platform for FSA development: Enriching new internalization theory with insights from family firm research," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 52(1), pages 148-160, February.
    8. João Carlos Lopes & Amélia Branco & Francisco Parejo & José Francisco Rangel, 2016. "Determinants of Success and Failure in the Internationalization of the Cork Business: A Tale of Two Iberian Family Firms," Eurasian Studies in Business and Economics, in: Mehmet Huseyin Bilgin & Hakan Danis (ed.), Entrepreneurship, Business and Economics - Vol. 2, edition 1, pages 417-440, Springer.
    9. Jean-François Hennart & Antonio Majocchi & Emanuele Forlani, 2019. "The myth of the stay-at-home family firm: How family-managed SMEs can overcome their internationalization limitations," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 50(5), pages 758-782, July.
    10. Jean-Luc Arregle & Francesco Chirico & Liena Kano & Sumit K. Kundu & Antonio Majocchi & William S. Schulze, 2021. "Family firm internationalization: Past research and an agenda for the future," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 52(6), pages 1159-1198, August.
    11. Metsola, Jaakko & Leppäaho, Tanja & Paavilainen-Mäntymäki, Eriikka & Plakoyiannaki, Emmanuella, 2020. "Process in family business internationalisation: The state of the art and ways forward," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(2).
    12. Cornelius Hafner, 2021. "Diversification in family firms: a systematic review of product and international diversification strategies," Review of Managerial Science, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 529-572, April.
    13. Rodrigo Basco & Inga BartkeviÄ iÅ«tÄ—, 2016. "Is there any room for family business into European Union 2020 Strategy? Family business and regional public policy," Local Economy, London South Bank University, vol. 31(6), pages 709-732, September.

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