chapter  8
Carving out a Place in International Markets: Success and Failure in European Family Papermaking Firms (1800–2010)
Pages 19

Family businesses (FBs) are typically thought to be less likely to go global than large firms. This tendency is explained in terms of their generally risk-averse nature, limited growth aspirations, poor financial strength, and weak managerial capabilities. The situation leads Mark Casson to claim that, within the conventional neoclassical framework, the family firm is an anachronism. 2 Yet, family firms can be highly successful, and even adopt international strategies and cultures. 3 FBs have “traditionally focused on their domestic markets” 4 but, they also “increasingly find themselves obliged to internationalize, in order to survive in a market that is becoming more and more globally competitive.” 5 This chapter supports the hypothesis that “family ownership and management is not in itself an obstacle for the growth and internationalization of a firm.” 6 FBs might have their weaknesses, but they enjoy sufficient strengths to operate globally.