International Partnership Failures in the Context of Family Small and Medium Enterprises Internationalisation




Failures, Family SMEs, International partnerships, Internationalisation, Family goals, SEW


This study aims to address the question of why the efforts of family Small and Medium Enterprises (family SMEs) to develop international partnerships fail. In particular, it draws on the network theory of internationalisation and SEW perspective and explores how family managers’ interpretation of the behaviour of potential international partners can lead to the failure of the attempt to develop an international partnership in the context of family SMEs internationalisation. To do so, it conducts a multiple case study of four internationalised Greek family SMEs in the food and beverages sector. The findings suggest that family managers set strict criteria, regarding their expectations about international partners’ behaviour when evaluating the potential international partners, which emerge from family managers’ effort to fulfil family goals (e.g., the preservation of family harmony and family reputation), and reveal that the family managers’ priority on the fulfilment of family goals can hinder the international partnership development process. These findings build upon the limited, yet important, family SMEs literature on international partnership failures and enrich previous networking theories about family SMEs’ internationalisation.


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Author Biography

Yannis Hajidimitriou, University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Greece

Yannis Hajidimitriou is Professor in International Business at the Department of Business Administration, University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Greece, and Director of the Master’s Program in International Business. Professor Hajidimitriou also served as Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas, USA. His research focuses on family SME internationalisation, international partner selection in family SMEs, trust and knowledge transfer in international strategic alliances and critical success factors in exports. He has published in various journals including the European Journal of International Management, Global Business and Organizational Excellence Journal, Journal of International Consumer Marketing, European Journal of Operational Research and European Business Review.


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How to Cite

Kampouri, K., & Hajidimitriou, Y. (2023). International Partnership Failures in the Context of Family Small and Medium Enterprises Internationalisation. European Journal of Family Business, 13(1), 56–70.



Research article