Straight outta Oberberg: Transforming mid-sized family firms into global champions 1970–2010

Fear, J.R. (2012) Straight outta Oberberg: Transforming mid-sized family firms into global champions 1970–2010. Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte, 53(1), pp. 125-169. (doi: 10.1524/jbwg.2012.0007)

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The German Mittelstand (small to mid-sized family-owned firms) has rightly been called the backbone of the German economy. Less well examined is how some of these firms have transformed themselves into micromultinationals with production and sales subsidiaries in key regions around the world. The article examines the regeneration and internationalization of seven firms in order to derive some general propositions about the internationalization of medium-sized firms and identify major challenges facing the German Mittelstand since the 1970s. It argues that the “pull” of global market opportunities rather than the “push” of poor industrial location transformed such businesses. The 1993/94 unification crisis proved a major turning point. Unlike larger businesses, this internationalization was largely client and service driven, based on a narrow niche strategy, opportunities were often serendipitous, but the execution of internationalization was often strategically planned.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Fear, Professor Jeffrey
Authors: Fear, J.R.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Economic and Social History
Journal Name:Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte
Publisher:De Gruyter Akademie Forschung
ISSN (Online):2196-6842
Published Online:24 May 2012

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