Internationalisation of Family and Non-family Firms: A Conjoint Experiment among CEOs

Helge Mensching*, Andrea Calabro, Felix Eggers, Sascha Kraus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The aim of this article is to shed light on the individual decision-making process of decision-makers in family and non-family firms in internationalisation activities, which depends on the intertwining of both economic and socioemotional reference points. Our analysis with the help of a choice-based conjoint analysis suggests that the perception of risk and success differs among three types of CEOs: family CEOs, non-family CEOs, and CEOs from non-family firms. We identify significant differences regarding indicators that pertain to geographic, psychological, and cultural distance. CEOs in non-family firms are not sensitive to geographic distance and perceive internationalisation to more distant countries as having the least amount of risk compared to the other CEO types. For family CEOs, psychological distances in language and religion negatively influence internationalisation decisions because these distances are perceived as more risky. For choosing the most successful strategies, reactions to psychological distance are not significantly different among the management types, while reactions to cultural differences are negligible.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of International Management
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)581-604
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Family firms
  • Internationalisation
  • Scioemotional wealth
  • SEW
  • Geographic distance
  • Conjoint analysis

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