This paper examines the patterns of, and motives for, internationalization by prominent market-seeking Chinese firms. Case studies of these firms indicate that they are seeking technological and brand assets to create a competitive position in international markets. While mainstream theory tends to assume that firms internationalize to exploit competitive advantages, Chinese firms are generally making such investments in order to address competitive disadvantages. They are engaging in ‘inward’ internationalization by means of original equipment manufacture (OEM) and joint venture partnerships, and ‘outward’ internationalization by means of acquisition and organic expansion abroad. Each of these routes offers certain benefits coupled with its own challenges or risks. The paper concludes that the Chinese case offers an opportunity to extend present theorizing in four primary areas concerning the latecomer perspective and catch-up strategies, institutional analysis with reference to the role of government, the relations between entrepreneurs and institutions, and the liability of foreignness.
For nearly two decades, scholars in international business and management have explored the implications of institutional voids for firm strategy and structure. Although institutional voids offer both opportunities and challenges, they have largely been associated with firms' efforts to avoid or mitigate institutional deficiencies and reduce the transaction costs associated with operating in settings subject to those institutional shortcomings. The goal of this special issue is to advance scholarship on this topic by (a) exploring institutional voids that are new to the literature, (b) providing a deeper assessment of the different ways in which firms respond to these voids, and (c) utilizing diverse disciplines and theoretical approaches to do so. In this introduction, we first review and synthesize extant research on institutional voids, tracking the evolution of institutional void scholarship since the inception of the concept (Khanna & Palepu, Journal of Economic Literature, 45(2):331-372, 1997) and providing our perspective on its contributions and limitations. We then summarize the contributions of the articles included in this special issue. In addition to identifying an array of institutional voids -economic and social -the articles highlight four different strategies for responding to them: internalization, substitution, borrowing and signaling. Drawing on these, we develop new insights on the implications of institutional voids for firm behavior. We conclude with suggestions for future research.
Highlighting the under-researched interrelationship between workplace humour and resistance, this paper examines employee opposition in a Brazilian telecommunications company. Much of the literature on corporate culture and humour has emphasized the way that 'having fun' can facilitate production. Functionalist in perspective, such studies treat organizational joking both as a means by which employees can 'let off steam' and as a flexible tool for man agers in reinforcing corporate culture. Questioning the universality of this 'safety-valve' theory of humour, our empirical analysis suggests that humour may be a relatively effective means of expressing employee dissatisfaction especially where more overt forms of resistance might provoke managerial reprisals.
This paper offers a new insight into how organizations engage with external complexity. It applies a political action perspective that draws attention to the hitherto neglected question of how the relative power organizational leaders enjoy within their environments is significant for the actions they can take on behalf of their organizations when faced with external complexity. It identifies cognitive and relational complexity as two dimensions of the environment with which organizations have to engage. It proposes three modes whereby organizations may engage with environmental complexity that are conditioned by an organization’s power within its environment. It also considers the intention associated with each mode, as well as the implications of these modes of engagement for how an organization can learn about its environment and for the use of rationality and intuition in its strategic decision-making. The closing discussion considers how this analysis integrates complexity and political action perspectives in a way that contributes to theoretical development and provides the basis for a dynamic political co-evolutionary approach.
This paper examines the extent to which co-evolution can take place within a heavily constrained environment and how changes in the degree of institutionalization are relevant to opportunities for exercising strategic choice at the level of the firm. It addresses these questions through a detailed case study of a major Brazilian telecommunications company, Telemig, covering its life span of 27 years from 1973 to 2000. The insights obtained advance the theory of co-evolution by incorporating a political dimension of how organizations are transformed into new forms. In the case studied, new forms arose with radical changes in the rules affecting competition and with de-institutionalization of the economic regime by coalitions of actors who were strategically located in networks that crossed system levels. Although the Telemig case presents circumstances different to those usually addressed by studies of co-evolution, it nevertheless points to the virtues of combining a strategic choice approach with one that focuses on the isomorphic effects of institutional constraints.
This paper aims to offer new theoretical and empirical insights into co‐evolutionary development. Theoretically, it advances a political perspective which focuses on the role of power and how this can be translated into influence as an evolutionary driver through the relational framework between an organization and external parties. Empirically, the paper elaborates this perspective by reference to how China's largest container terminal evolved within a changing environment, and how its evolution in turn impacted on the evolution of its sector. In this case, the key relational framework was that between the organization and government institutions. Application of a political perspective to the case study suggests a theoretical model that can inform future research and practice.
The governance of companies, other than very small ones, operates through a double agency relationship. The first agency relationship is that between owners or stakeholders, on the one hand, and corporate management, on the other. The second agency relationship is that between corporate management and the employees of a firm, including middle managers, who execute its plans and policies. This second relationship has been largely ignored in discussions of corporate governance, yet its effectiveness is essential for achieving a firm's objectives. If employees have limited trust in their companies, the ability of corporate managers to have their intentions executed will be impaired. There is considerable evidence that such trust is today at a low ebb. This paper suggests policies that may help to repair employee trust and in so doing strengthen corporate governance. Its underlying theme is that greater attention to the trust that employees have in managers would help to achieve a long overdue realignment of corporate governance theory and policy. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2004.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted in 2015 by all UN member states and have been embraced by many multinational enterprises (MNEs) and international NGOs. They created a 'hybrid governance' platform in which companies, governments, NGOs, and knowledge institutes can work on achieving common goals through targeted action and serve as the leading global sustainable development framework until 2030. By the year 2020, however, progress towards the goals proved slow, prompting the UN to announce a 'Decade of Action'. The slow or limited adoption and implementation of the SDG Agenda by MNEs-in close interaction with government policies-is one of the root causes for delayed progress. The question is no longer 'why' MNEs should develop sustainability strategies, but rather 'how'. A number of related questions arise. What have been the roles of MNEs in progress towards the SDGs, what is needed from them in the future, and what can be the role of international business (IB) scholarship in shaping discussion and action? This Special Issue tackles these questions from four angles: (1) identifying and helping to fill theoretical gaps in IB research on the SDGs; (2) asking which SDGs and targets provide promising venues for societally relevant IB research topics; (3) assessing and helping to fill empirical gaps by using, complementing, and upgrading relevant SDG indicators; and (4) showing how IB research and policy practice can become better aligned.
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