Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to draw the perspective of dynamic adjustment costs, the author developed hypotheses regarding the relationships between the internationalization of business groups and first, key leaders of business groups who helped found the groups (i.e. founder-key leaders); second, business groups' group-level decision teams where the majority of positions are held by members of the founding family (i.e. family-dominated decision teams); and third, business groups' group-level decision teams where strong ties exist among these teams (i.e. strong-tie decision teams) because group-level top managers are simultaneously top managers of group affiliates. Design/methodology/approach: This study used generalized least squares fixed-effects models to test its arguments about longitudinal data pertaining to 173 Taiwanese business groups' foreign direct investments over a period of five years (2004-2008). Findings: The results show that the presence of a founder-key leader and strong-tie group-level decision teams in a business group can positively affect the internationalization of business groups. However, family-dominated group-level decision teams in a business group can adversely affect the internationalization of business groups. Research limitations/implications: Using a dynamic managerial-capacities perspective, this study provides alternative explanations regarding the degree of business groups' internationalization to demonstrate the links among business groups' key leaders, group-level decision teams, and internationalization. Practical implications: When deciding whether to expand abroad, managers at a given business group should carefully consider the characteristics of the group's management team because business groups engaging in such expansion are likely to incur dynamic adjustment costs. In this case, the dynamic managerial capacities of a business group play an important role in enabling the group to decrease dynamic adjustment costs. The differences among a group-level key leader's traits, a family-dominated group-level decision team's traits, and a strong-tie group-level decision team's traits will lead to distinct levels of dynamic managerial capacities within the group. Originality/value: Given the increasing number of business groups entering international markets, this paper rests on the perspective of dynamic managerial capabilities and uses group-level evidence to clarify how the characteristics of key leaders and the characteristics of group-level decision teams in business groups affect the groups' international expansion.
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