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Innovativeness in family firms: an internationalization approach

Vanessa Ratten (La Trobe Business School, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia)
Kayhan Tajeddini (Institute for International Strategy, Tokyo International University, Kawagoe, Japan)

Review of International Business and Strategy

ISSN: 2059-6014

Article publication date: 5 June 2017




This paper aims to build on opportunity identification and resource-based view theory, this paper examines the internationalization process of family firms. The role of innovativeness in influencing the internationalization rate of family firms is explored in terms of customer responsiveness, proactiveness and risk-taking.


Multiple case studies were carried out with several family businesses in the information technology industry in Australia.


The findings of this research suggest that innovativeness of family firms depends on responsiveness to customer needs in the international market while involving a degree of risk-taking. In addition, the results suggest family firms are not proactive in their pursuit of international market opportunities.

Research limitations/implications

If family firms focus more on becoming more innovative, then they will stand a better chance to successfully enter more international markets.


The paper highlights the need for family firms to embrace their innovativeness as a distinctive capability for their internationalization efforts. Several new research directions that may enhance the understanding of family firm innovation and internationalization are suggested.



Ratten, V. and Tajeddini, K. (2017), "Innovativeness in family firms: an internationalization approach", Review of International Business and Strategy, Vol. 27 No. 2, pp. 217-230.



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