Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify the role of the first and second generations in the process of internationalization of a family business active in the SME sector in Poland. Design/methodology/approach – Conducted research was qualitative in character. The research method used was the case study. A total of six case studies were developed that demonstrate the experiences of Polish exporters – family companies in the SME sector. The primary research tool was the unstructured questionnaire‐based interview. Interviews were conducted over the years 2008‐2009. The group of examined respondents included both the first and second generation. Findings – Analysis of the developed case studies indicates that it was the first generation that was responsible for making decision and undertaking operations in the first phase. With time, that generation kept only decision‐related responsibilities. The second generation tends to continue tradition rather than being an agent of change. Originality/value – The main contribution of this paper has been to make a characterization of the process of internationalization of family businesses in the SME sector in Poland – a country undergoing radical systemic transition. Its large‐scale effect is the commencement of the process of creating companies, including family businesses. On the other hand, it makes possible the defining of the role of the second generation in the process of internationalization of family businesses, regardless of whether that generation is a continuator of the initiative of the first generation or is itself the initiator of changes.
Journal of Technology Management in China – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 4, 2013
Keywords: Family business; Internationalization; International entrepreneurship; Poland; First and second generation