Offshoring to Promote the Internationalization of Family Firms

Fernando Merino


This paper analyses the impact of sourcing abroad on exporting in the case of Spanish manufacturing firms that are family-owned. Sourcing abroad can be a channel that places the firm in a better position to export, not only because it increases the productivity of the firm, but also because it provides information, new managerial procedures or just the acceptance by the family owners of a more complex strategy. The empirical analysis presents the premium on the probability of being an exporter for those firms that offshore part of their production, and compares this with the results for non-family firms. The results show that there is a significant premium for SMEs on the probability of exporting, but not on the intensity of those exports, and that this occurs at the same levels in family and non-family firms.


Offshoring; Exporting; Family Firms

Full Text:



Amiti, Mary, and Shan-Jin Wey. 2009 "Service Offshoring and Productivity: Evidence from the US." The World Economy 32: 203-220.

Antelo, Manel, and Lluis Bru. 2010 "Outsourcing or restructuring: The dynamic choice." International Journal of Production Economics 123:1–7.

Antràs, Pol, and Elhanan Helpman. 2004. " Global sourcing." Journal of Political Economy 112:552-580.

Arregle, Jean-Luc, Patricio Duran, Michael A. Hitt, and Marc van Essen. 2016. "Why Is Family Firms’ Internationalization Unique? A Meta-Analysis." Entrepreneurship, Theory and Practice (15 August). doi:10.1111/etap.12246.

Astrachan, Joseph H., Sabine B. Klein, and Kosmas X Smyrnios. 2002. "The F-PEC Scale of Family Influence: A Proposal for Solving the Family Business Definition Problem." Family Business Review XV:45-58.

Bakhtiari, Sasan. 2015. "Productivity, outsourcing and exit: The case of Australian manufacturing." Small Business Economics 44:427-447.

Bertrand, Olivier. 2011. "What goes around, comes around: Effects of offshore outsourcing on the export performance of firms." Journal of International Business Studies 42:334-344.

Bhagwati, Jagdish, Arvind Panagariya, and T.N. Srinivasan. 2004. "The muddles over outsourcing." Journal of Economic Perspectives 18:93-114.

Boellis, Andrea, Sergio Mariotti, Alessandro Minichilli, and Lucia Piscitello. 2016. "Family involvement and firms’ establishment mode choice in foreign markets." Journal of International Business Studies 47:929-950.

Cabral, Sandro, Bertrand Quelin, and Walmir Maia. 2014. "Outsourcing Failure and Reintegration: The Influence of Contractual and External Factors." Long Range Planning 47:365–378.

Claver, Enrique, Laura Rienda, and Diego Quer. 2009. "Family Firms’ International Commitment. The Influence of Family-Related Factors." Family Business Review 22:125-135.

Contractor, Farok J., Vikas Kumar, Sumit K. Kundu, and Torben Pedersen. 2010. "Reconceptualizing the Firm in a World of Outsourcing and Offshoring: The Organizational and Geographical Relocation of High-Value Company Functions." Journal of Management Studies 47:1417-1433.

Coucke, Kristien, and Leo Sleuwaegen. 2008. "Offshoring as a survival strategy: evidence from manufacturing firms in Belgium." Journal of International Business Studies 39:1261–1277.

Díaz-Mora, Carmen, and Rosario Gandoy. 2008. "Outsourcing en las industrias tradicionales: Determinantes de la Estrategia." Revista de Estudios Empresariales, Segunda Época 1:41-64.

DiGregorio, Dante, Martina Musteen, and Douglas E. Thomas. 2009. "Offshore outsourcing as a source of international competitiveness for SMEs." Journal of International Business Studies 40:969-988.

Faccio, Mara, and Larry H.P. Lang. 2002. "The ultimate ownership of Western European Corporations." Journal of Financial Economics 65:365–395.

Fernández, Zulima, and Maria J. Nieto. 2005. "Internationalization strategy of small and medium sized family businesses: Some influential factors." Family Business Review 18:77-89.

Fratocchi, Luciano, Carmela DiMauro, Paolo Barbieri, Guido Nassimbeni, and Andrea Zanoni. 2014. "When manufacturing moves back: Concepts and questions." Journal of Purchasing & Supply Management 20:54-59.

Freytag, Per V., Ann H. Clarke, and Majbritt R. Evald. 2012. "Reconsidering outsourcing solutions." European Management Journal 30:99-110.

Fuentes, Guadalupe, Manuel Carlos Vallejo, and Rubén Fernández. 2007. "Aspectos determinantes en la internacionalización de la empresa familiar." Revista de Estudios Empresariales, Segunda Época 1:38-54.

Galdon-Sanchez, José Enrique, Ricard Gil, and Alberto Bayo-Moriones. 2015. "Outsourcing of peripheral services: Evidence from Spanish manufacturing plant-level data." European Economic Review 78:328–344.

Gallo, Miguel Angel, and Jannicke Sveen. 1991. "Internationalization the family business: Facilitating and restraining factors." Family Business Review 4:181-190.

Gomez-Mejia, Luis R., Katalin Takács Haynes, Manuel Nunez-Nickel, Kathyrn J. L. Jacobson, and José Moyano-Fuentes. 2007. "Socioemotional wealth and business risks in family-controlled firms: Evidence from Spanish olive oil mills." Administrative Science Quarterly 52:106–137.

Grossman, Gene M., Elhanan Helpman, and Adam Szeidl. 2006 "Optimal integration strategies for the multinational firm." Journal of International Economics 70:216–238.

Guillén, Mauro F., and Esteban García-Canal. 2010. The New Multinationals: Spanish Firms in a Global Context. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.

Horgos, Daniel. 2013. "Global sourcing: a family-firm’s perspective." Journal of Small Business & Entrepreneurship 26:221–240.

Instituto de Empresa Familiar. 2015. La empresa famililar en España. Barcelona: Instituto de la Empresa Familiar.

Jensen, Peter D. Ø., and Torben Pedersen. 2011. "The Economic Geography of Offshoring: The Fit between Activities and Local Context." Journal of Management Studies 48:352-372.

Kedia, Ben L., and Debmalya Mukherjee. 2009. "Understanding offshoring: A research framework based on disintegration, location and externalization advantages." Journal of World Business 44:250–261.

Lin, Wen-Ting. 2012. "Family ownership and internationalization processes: Internationalization pace, internationalization scope, and internationalization rhythm." European Management Journal 30:47– 56.

Melitz, Marc J., and Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano. 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity." Review of Economic Studies 75:295–316.

Merino, Fernando. 2017. "Offshoring, outsourcing and the economic geography of Europe." Papers in Regional Science 96:299-323.

Merino, Fernando, Joaquín Monreal-Pérez, and Gregorio Sánchez-Marín. 2015. "Family SMEs' Internationalization: Disentangling the Influence of Familiness on Spanish Firms' Export Activity." Journal of Small Business Management 53:1164-1183.

Minetti, Raoul, Pierluigi Murro, and Susan Chun Zhu. 2015. "Family Firms, Corporate Governance and Export." Economica 82:1177–1216.

Musteen, Martina. 2016. "Behavioral factors in offshoring decisions: A qualitative analysis." Journal of Business Research 69:3439–3446.

Olsen, Karsten Bjerring. 2006. “Productivity impacts of offshoring and outsourcing.” Working paper 2006/1, OECD STI.

Sacristán-Navarro, María, Silvia Gómez-Ansón, and Laura Cabeza-García. 2011. "Family Ownership and Control, the Presence of Other Large Shareholders, and Firm Performance: Further Evidence." Family Business Review 24:71-93.

Sánchez-Bueno, Maria J., and Belen Usero. 2014. "How may the nature of family firms explain the decisions concerning international diversification?" Journal of Business Research 67:1311–1320.

Scholes, Louise, Michael Mustafa, and Stephen Chen. 2016. "Internationalization of Family Firms: The Influence of Family from a Socioemotional Perspective." Thunderbird International Business Review 58:131-146.

Schwörer, Tillman. 2013. "Offshoring, domestic outsourcing and productivity: evidence for a number of European countries." Review of the World Economy 149:131-149.

Segaro, Ethiopia, Jorma Larimo, and Marian V. Jones. 2014. "Internationalisation of family small and medium sized enterprises: The role of stewardship orientation, family commitment culture and top management team." International Business Review 23:381–395.

Sharma, Pramodita. 2004. "An Overview of the Field of Family Business Studies: Current Status and Directions for the Future.” Family Business Review 17:1-36.

UNCTAD. 2004. World Investment Report. New York and Geneva: United Nations.

Wagner, Joachim. 2007. "Exports and Productivity: A Survey of the Evidence from Firm-level Data." The World Economy 30:60-82.

Williamson, Oliver E. 1979. "Transaction-Cost Economics: The Governance of Contractual Relations.” The Journal of Law & Economics, 22(2): 233-261.

Williamson, Oliver E. 2008. “Outsourcing: Transaction Cost Economics and Supply Chain Management.” Journal of Supply Chain Management 44 (2): 5-16.



  • There are currently no refbacks.


Indexed in:

DOAJ, ERIH PLUS, Dialnet, Latindex, Google Scholars, RACO

RCUB Avís Legal RCUB Universitat de Barcelona