Internationalization propensity in family-controlled public firms in emerging markets

The effects of family ownership, governance, and top management team heterogeneity


  • Chiung-Wen Tsao Department of Business and Management, National University of Tainan
  • Miao-Ju Wang National Sun Yat-sen University
  • Chia-Mei Lu Department of Styling and Cosmetology, Tainan University of Technology
  • Shyh-Jer Chen Institute of Human Resource Management, National Sun Yat-sen University
  • Yi-Hsien Wang Institute of Human Resource Management, National Sun Yat-sen University


Internationalization propensity is a growing issue faced by family firms. This study contributes to the family business literature by developing a conceptual framework that can identify the family and managerial determinants that affect the extensiveness of internationalization. Drawing on the socioemotional wealth and upper echelon perspectives, it empirically examines the association among family heterogeneity (i.e., family participation is heterogeneous in terms of ownership and governance oversight), top management team (TMT) heterogeneity (i.e., the TMT’s background is heterogeneous in terms of its overseas education and industry experience), and internationalization propensity in publicly traded enterprises. The analysis of data collected from 105 public firms in Taiwan shows that active family participation in ownership and governance oversight and TMT overseas industry experience heterogeneity are significantly and positively associated with internationalization propensity. However, family ownership is found to be significantly but negatively associated with internationalization propensity. We finally discuss the implications of the presented findings for practitioners and organizational theorists.


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