Internationalization of family firms: the effect of CEO attributes. By: Sánchez Pulido, Laura; Moreno Gené, Jordi; Gallizo Larraz, José Luis. Journal of Management & Governance. Sep2021, p1-32.

This paper examines the influence of CEO characteristics on the internationalization of family businesses. The study is based on Upper Echelons Theory, where organizational performance is related to the cognitive foundations and values of the managers of the family business. This work aims to contribute to the construction of a link between research in management teams and theoretical studies on family businesses. Using Probit and Tobit regression analyses on a sample of 1005 Spanish family businesses, this study demonstrates that CEOs with some specific characteristics are more likely to adopt some strategies for the internationalization of a company. For example, the type of studies undertaken by the CEO or the existence of a consensual strategic plan within the family business are positively linked to the adoption of an exportation strategy. Also, previous professional experience outside the family business or being a first-generation family member contributes to going international via establishing strategic alliances, while being a tenured CEO shows a positive effect on an internationalization strategy based on direct investment, but a negative effect on the establishment of strategic alliances. Finally, a family member CEO negatively affects an internationalization strategy based on direct investment. The results also affirm that the internationalization strategy is determined by the size of the business and the sector in which it operates.