Date of Conferral



Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)




Gene E. Fusch


Family businesses represent a key economical asset in the global economy. Leaders of family businesses have implemented internationalization as a key strategy to enhance sustainability and increase profitability in a hypercompetitive global marketplace. Guided by the Uppsala model, the purpose of this case study was to explore how Saudi family business leaders have planned and implemented internationalization. Three leaders from different international Saudi family businesses participated in semistructured interviews. The participants described their experience in achieving successful internationalization for their family businesses. After analyzing the interview data and validating through member checking, 3 main themes emerged: (a) the characteristics of the family business to compete internationally, (b) the characteristics of a suitable international market for family businesses to internationalize, and (c) the characteristics of a successful internationalization opportunity for a Saudi family business. In order to internationalize, Saudi family business leaders identified having a proper strategy, financial capability, qualified resources, well-structured policies, and globally-standardized products or services. Family business leaders should target the international market that is stable, that is secure with regulations, and that is welcoming to foreign investments. Each internationalization opportunity should have close psychic distance, available relationships in the international market, targeted family business motives, demonstrated existing market demand with the ability to satisfy, and proper timing. The findings may promote social change in Saudi family businesses by identifying essential characteristics to maintain the companies' existence and offer a roadmap to compete internationally.