Family firms’ management decision to export/not to export: A resource-based view
Emerald Publishing Limited
School of Business and Law
The purpose of this paper is to address some knowledge gaps in the family entrepreneurship literature, examining the cases of seven Western Australian family firms with various degrees of export involvement, including no involvement. In this process, the study incorporates the resource-based view of the firm (RBVF).
Face-to-face and telephone interviews conducted with firm co-owners and one manager of seven family firms. Content analysis and word association were employed to analyse the data gathered.
The interviews revealed the significance of various key resources regardless of firms’ extent of export involvement. Indeed, alignments with the RBVF emerged, with firms’ strategies resting on valuable, rare, perfectly immobile and non-substitutable resource attributes. More lucrative consumer markets, diversifying, product recognition and minimising the impact of domestic competitors were main reasons to export. In contrast, rising costs, unfavourable currency exchanges or mediocre previous experiences were motives for discontinuing exports. Nonetheless, building on their resource foundation, non-exporting firms’ strategies focussed on strengthening their involvement in the domestic market, perceived as a valued alternative.
The academic literature identifies various knowledge gaps concerning family firm entrepreneurship, including research focussing on family firms’ internationalisation process. By addressing this under-researched area, the study provides an element of originality and value. In addition, despite Western Australia’s proximity to neighbouring markets, limited contemporary research on family firms has been conducted in this state; hence, the study provides an original component. Finally, the study seeks to refine the RBVF in the context of family firm research.