Mariasole Banno (University of Trento, Italy) presented a very interesting paper on the approaches taken by family businesses to international growth. Her research explored whether family businesses tend to enter foreign markets through greenfield investment or acquisition (so-called establishment mode), or through wholly owned subsidiaries or joint venture (so-called entry mode).
The research was important because family businesses dominate the commercial marketplace, particularly the SME sector. Banno analysed data from 1571 foreign direct investments of family-owned Italian firms. She discovered that the share of family ownership appears to be an important influence on behaviour on the decisions made by the board of directors as they execute international growth strategies. More specifically, boards of directors controlled by family owners tend to favour the greenfield investment approach (establishment mode) when seeking to grow beyond the national border, even through a joint venture or shared ownership mode might enable faster or stronger growth. Banno noted that families with influential younger successors seem to be more open to exploratory or joint-ventured modes of international growth, which suggests risk appetite might be an important factor in strategic decision-making. However, this would require a more extensive data set, and a longer term view of performance.
Thoughts on corporate governance, strategy and the craft of board work; our place in the world; and, other things that catch my attention.