This interactive seminar invites Tanja Leppäaho as an expert in the fields of international entrepreneurship, networking, process, family entrepreneurship, sustainable entrepreneurship and qualitative methodology. Tanja will especially discuss her paper about internationalization strategies of family firms, followed by a Q&A session with our PhD students.

Wednesday 9 October 2019
Lecture Theatre 1A
Tanja Leppäaho; Professor of Growth Entrepreneurship and Academy of Finland Research Fellow at LUT University


We investigated the role of critical junctures and imprinting in the internationalization of four Finnish wood manufacturing family firms (FFs) over time. The firms in question started to internationalize at four different critical junctures, namely (i) the start of the first global economy (Wood1868); (ii) after the First World War (Wood1928); (iii) after the Second World War (Wood1952), and (iv) when Finland joined the European Union and we lived the second global economy (Wood1995). The period covering the two world wars manifested at first a domestic network orientation and then a slow and cautious internationalization and.

The first and the second global economy provided FFs with an immediate international orientation; but with different starting points, the first starting point being more bulk production and export-based (and subsequently somewhat detrimental when global circumstances changed), and the second more based on niche high-end products. We found that these critical junctures were likely to have influenced the internationalization strategies taken or pursued. Imprinting (Simsek et al., 2015) is related to not only the timing and pace of internationalization among the FFs, but also to the operation modes used, the technology orientation, and the types of networks formed.

The internationalization of firms seems to have followed certain trends at certain times. With hindsight, the trends might not have been optimal for the firms in question, but in the absence of other models and insights, the firms ended up acting in the way they did. Please note this event is open to Business School staff and PhD students only.

About Tanja Leppäaho

Tanja Leppäaho (Kontinen) works as Professor of Growth Entrepreneurship and Academy of Finland Research Fellow at LUT University, Finland. Tanja’s previous employments were Professor of Entrepreneurship and International Business (tenure track) at Jyväskylä University of Jyväskylä and Senior Lecturer of International Business at the University of Edinburgh Business School. Tanja’s areas of interest are international entrepreneurship, networking, longitudinal internationalization process, family entrepreneurship, and qualitative methodology. According to Pukall and Calabro (2014), Tanja currently is the leading expert of the area of family firm internationalization on a global scale.

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