Call for papers-Special Issue-Opportunities and challenges in internationalization of family business

Family businesses represent the backbone of many countries’ economies and their growth is critical for economic and social development. They account for a substantial proportion of publicly traded companies and are the predominant form of business organization in the world (Breton-Miller, Miller, and Bares, 2015). Even if there is a great variety in their governance, family controlled business can be defined as those, “whether public or private, in which a family controls the largest block of shares or votes and has one or more of its members in key management positions” (Miller D., Le Breton-Miller I., 2005, p. 2).

Given their share in the global market, the internationalization of family businesses is a key factor in maintaining their economic and social importance (Ratten, Ramadani, Dana, Hoy, Ferreira, 2017) and in providing a strong and long-term competitive advantage.

Drawing on internationalization of family business perspectives, which can differ profoundly from those of non-family businesses, this special issue will address multiple topics pertaining to the opportunities and challenges of internationalization strategies of family firms.

Guest Editors

Ilan Alon, Silvia Ranfagni

Tiziano Vescovi, Donata Vianelli


Submission of proposals for the Special Issue
April 15, 2019
Notification of proposal acceptance
May 15, 2019
Full paper submission
Sept 10, 2019
Notification of the review process
December 13, 2019

This special issue will include emerging themes related to business models, strategies and decisions of family businesses in international markets. Suggested topics are the following:

  • Pathways and models of internationalization of family firms
  • Relational/Network perspectives on internationalization of family companies
  • Enablers and inhibitors of family firm’s international strategic development
  • Innovation and internationalization in strategic development of family firms
  • Internationalization of family businesses in emerging markets
  • Country specific cultural issues (regional and national) on international strategy and performance
  • Impact of family dynamics on international strategies, decisions and behaviors
  • Impact of generational issues on internationalization strategies
  • Gender differences and internationalization of family firms
  • Influence of traditions, embeddedness and family values on internationalization strategies
  • Family-based brand identity as a competitive driver in international markets
  • Organizational culture in family firms and its impact on entrepreneurial activities for internationalization
  • Local values and traditions in the international strategies of family firms
  • Immigrant entrepreneurs and internationalization

This special issue welcomes qualitative, quantitative and mixed approaches, strongly supported by the family business literature.

Some useful references

ARREGLE J.L., DURAN P., HITT M.A., ESSEN M. (2017), “Why Is Family Firms’ Internationalization Unique? A Meta-Analysis”, Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice, vol. 41, n. 5, pp. 801-831.

BRETON-MILLER L., MILLER I., BARES F. (2015), “Governance and entrepreneurship in family firms: agency, behavioral agency and resource-based comparisons”, Journal of Family Business Strategy, vol. 6, n. 1, pp. 58-62.

CRAIG J.B., DIBRELL C., DAVIS P.S. (2008), “Leveraging family‐based brand identity to enhance firm competitiveness and performance in family businesses”, Journal of Small Business Management, vol. 46, n. 3, pp. 351-371.

DE MASSIS A., FRATTINI F., KOTLAR J., PETRUZZELLI A.M., WRIGHT M. (2016), “Innovation through tradition: Lessons from innovative family businesses and directions for future research”, Academy of Management Perspectives, vol. 30, n. 1, pp. 93-116.

FERNÁNDEZ Z., NIETO M.J. (2005), “Internationalization Strategy of Small and Medium-Sized Family Businesses: Some Influential Factors”, Family Business Review, vol. 18, n. 1, pp.77-89.

GRAVES C., THOMAS J. (2008), “Determinants of the Internationalization Pathways of Family Firms: An Examination of Family Influence”, Family Business Review, vol. 21, n. 2, pp.151-167.

HALL A., MELIN L., NORDQVIST M. (2001), “Entrepreneurship as radical change in the family business: Exploring the role of cultural patterns”, Family Business Review, vol. 14, n. 3, pp. 193-208.

JIMÉNEZ M.C.R., MARTOS M.C.V., JIMÉNEZ R.M. (2015), “Organisational harmony as a value in family businesses and its influence on performance”, Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 126, n. 2, pp. 259-272.

KRAUS S., MENSCHING H., CALABRÒ A., CHENG C-F., FILSER M. (2016), “Family firm internationalization: A configurational approach”, Journal of Business Research, vol. 69, n. 11, pp. 5473-5478.

MILLER D., LE BRETON-MILLER I. (2005), Managing for the long run, Lessons in Competitive Advantage from Great Family Businesses, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, Massachusetts.

PUKALL T.J., CALABRÒ A. (2014), “The Internationalization of Family Firms: A Critical Review and Integrative Model”, Family Business Review, vol. 27, n. 2, pp. 103-125

RATTEN V., RAMADANI V., DANA L.P., HOY F., FERREIRA J. (2017), “Family entrepreneurship and internationalization strategies”, Review of International Business and Strategy, vol. 27, n. 2, pp.150-160.

Submission of proposals (April 15, 2019)
We request that all submissions of proposal include article title, author list and affiliations, abstract (<500 words) and main references. The abstract should be structured according to the following scheme:

research limits;
practical implications;
originality of the study;
key words;

The consistency of proposed contents and their relevance to the themes of the special issue will be assessed by the Editors of the Journal and the Guest Editors of the special issue, who will notify assessment outcome to each proposer. Proposals are to be sent directly to Donata Vianelli ( and to Silvia Ranfagni (

All full papers received after acceptance of the proposals will undergo a double blind review process.

Paper submission (September 10, 2019)
Sinergie Italian Journal of Management only publishes original work. Submitted papers must not have been previously published in a refereed journal in its current or a substantially similar form, and they must not be currently under consideration for publication in another refereed journal.

Editors cannot provide any excerpts of the paper. Authors may download the PDF file of their paper from the Journal’s website.

Authors are required to express their consent to the publication of their disclosed e-mail addresses, as stated by Italian Law D.Lgs. 196 of 30 June 2003. They must also commit themselves to respect the

Authors may submit papers in English by sending the paper directly to Donata Vianelli ( and Silvia Ranfagni (

The submission procedure requires authors to provide two separate files, using a Microsoft Word for Windows format:

The first file should be called ‘IA’, and it should only include the title of the paper, information about the authors (name, title, affiliation, e-mail address and contact number), acknowledgements and references to research projects that led to the drafting of the paper.
The second file should be called ‘FP’. It must not contain any details regarding the author(s), or any information that could be traced back to the author(s) (e.g., acknowledgements and similar expressions). Author guidelines are described at the following link:

Peer review process
The review process is described here:

Publication in Sinergie
A selection of the papers will be included in a 2020 Sinergie Italian Journal of Management special issue.

Sinergie is ranked “C” by ANVUR for VQR 2011-2014 and it is ranked “A” by AIDEA among Italian business administration journals (  Publication in Sinergie Italian Journal of Management is free of charge.




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