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Internationalization of Family-Controlled Firms: A Study of the Effects of External Involvement in Governance


  • Jean-Luc Arregle,

  • Lucia Naldi,

  • Mattias Nordqvist,

  • Michael A. Hitt

Please send correspondence to: Jean-Luc Arregle, tel.: 33 (0) 4 78 33 78 00; e-mail:, to Lucia Naldi at, to Mattias Nordqvist at, and to Michael A. Hitt at


This research focuses on family-controlled firms as an important type of family firms, and demonstrates how external parties in the governance (ownership and board of directors) can serve as a catalyst for their internationalization. Our framework also embraces the moderating effects of the competitive environmental heterogeneity and past performance on the relationship between external, nonfamily involvement in governance, and internationalization (scale and scope). The hypotheses are tested on a sample of 351 Swedish family-controlled firms. Our findings extend previous research on family firms and their internationalization, especially addressing some of the prior mixed findings, and offers implications for both theory and practice.

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