Internationalisation of Family Firm the effects on entrepreneurial orientation and generation involvement

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Family firms are a special type of entrepreneurial endeavor. Contrary to commonly held thought, such firms are just as likely to be big corporations as they are to be small, and community-focused neighborhood businesses. In the face of increasing globalization, such firms are under pressure to internationalize their operations in order to maintain a competitive edge in the marketplace. Such internationalization requires entrepreneurial orientation and a strong generational family presence in order to maximize the potential for success. As the research will show, such options are certain possible for family firms, but they do not come without their unique challenges. For various reasons to be discussed, the family firm faces obstacle not existent in traditional stakeholder or corporately owned firms, yet they also are well positioned with many advantages as well. By increasing their pool of labor, maintaining a strong family and values oriented organizational structure, minimizing risk, and maintaining a strong sense of entrepreneurial orientation, family firms can not only succeed in an international environment, but they can excel. The benefits are in their favor, and the disadvantages of not attempting to enter the global market given today’s economic environment are many. For these reasons, the research contained in this paper will point to a need for family firms to strongly consider internationalism as their most productive business decision moving forward. Internationalisation of the Family Firm: The Effects on Entrepreneurial Orientation and Generational Involvement Introduction With all of the hype surrounding corporate culture in recent decades, many believe that the demise of family firms were upon us. Companies surrounded with traditional values and limited stakeholder influence, it was argued, could not long thrive and excel in the global marketplace we experience today. In reality, the family firm has seen resurgence in recent years as internationalisation has paved the way for an economic vitality that was sorely needed and a renewed vigour that has sparked a revival of the entrepreneurial spirit. In recent years, family firms have broadened their horizons by looking to external knowledge and international sources of capital, all the while looking towards the implementation of new strategies to maintain family influence over the organization (Cerrato and Piva, 2012, p. 618). It would appear that for the family firm to grow in this renewed globally competitive environment, some risk need to be taken. As such, there are some firms that stand out as successful proteges that other family run companies can look to, while others have suffered extreme setbacks, or even failure (Chu, 2011, p. 838). Research Questions The following questions form the foundation for this project. It is important to analyze numerous aspects of the internationalisation of the family firm in order to ascertain the entrepreneurial orientation and generational involvement that are critical to its continue viability and success. These questions form the foundation for the impending literature review and proposition development. What are the competitive advantages and disadvantages existent in family firms as they move towards an international presence? To what extent does longevity and the presence of a long-term family create either and obstacle or advantage to internationalisation? What role does generational involvement and relationships within a family firm play in the process of internationalisation? What is the process, structure, and strategy by which different family firms go global and which concepts proved to be most effective? Which proved to be less effective? What are the regional differences, such as cross-continent legalities, that determine expansion projects for family firms and what is process by which target countries are eventually chosen? Since