Organizational-Social-Capital, Time and International Family SMEs: An Empirical Study from the East of England

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Previous studies on family-SME internationalization have largely focused on what resources are needed to drive an incremental process rather than how resource management occurs in historical time. This paper focuses on the latter, adopting a social capital perspective (capturing both internal, i.e. among family-SME board members, and external, cross border agent dyads, relations) in order to decipher case study data from the East of England. Findings show that it is not the presence or absence of organizational-social-capital that affects family-SME internationalization success but rather its variable use over the years driven by the future pursuit of longevity, not growth. Key within this context is the variable use of the international expertise and management capability of non-family managers in the family SME intra-organizational context. Ultimately this may lead to change and learning that occurs erratically, often including reversals, without causing family-SME progression across a sequence of incremental stages.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525-541
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Management Review
Issue number3
Early online date15 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2019


    Research areas

  • family business, internationalization, social capital, history, SME

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