Abstract

The internationalization process of family business has received increasing attention from researchers in the last two decades since the seminal work by Gallo and Sveen (1991). Most studies have focused on examining the internationalization differences between family and non-family firms and little research has been undertaken to understand how family firms internationalize. Our goal is to address this research gap and shed further light on internationalization in family firms by adopting a coevolutionary stance to understand family firms and their internationalization over time.

Coevolution is based on the assumption that different interdependent systems coevolve over time, reciprocally influencing each other’s development. We propose a coevolution framework to study the family-business interactions longitudinally and decipher their influence on the internationalization process of the firm. While firm internationalization is recognised as a dynamic process, yet little is known about the role of the family in the evolution of internationalization process of family firms. The fundamental insight is that both the family and the business are constitutes of each other’s environment and therefore influence each other’s evolution. Understanding these dynamics will provide a new lens to examine, and subsequently explain, the process of internationalization in family firms.

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