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Article

Asli M. Colpan and Alvaro Cuervo-Cazurra

Business groups are an organizational model in which collections of legally independent firms bounded together with formal and informal ties use collaborative arrangements to enhance their collective welfare. Among the different varieties of business groups, diversified business groups that exhibit unrelated product diversification under central control, and often containing chains of publicly listed firms, are the most-studied type in the management literature. The reason is that they challenge two traditionally held assumptions. First, broad and especially unrelated diversification have a negative impact on performance, and thus business groups should focus on a narrow scope of related businesses. Second, such diversification is only sustainable in emerging economies in which market and institutional underdevelopment are more common and where business groups can provide a solution to such imperfections. However, a historical perspective indicates that diversified business groups are a long-lived organizational model and are present in emerging and advanced economies, illustrating how business groups adapt to different market and institutional settings. This evolutionary approach also highlights the importance of going beyond diversification when studying business groups and redirecting studies toward the evolution of the group structure, their internal administrative mechanisms, and other strategic actions beyond diversification such as internationalization.

Article

Tanusree Jain and Jiangtao Xie

Having a Code of Ethics (COE) has become a common practice within large companies since the 1980s. A COE serves multiple functions for organizations: as an internal control mechanism to guide employees during ethical dilemmas, a benchmark for fostering ethical corporate culture, and as a communication tool to signal organizational commitment to stakeholders. Four major theoretical frameworks underpin the extant academic scholarship on COEs. In particular, organizational justice and stakeholder theories highlight the role of individuals in adopting and shaping a COE, and the institutional theory emphasizes the influence of the exogenous environment on the convergence and/or divergence of COEs across firms and contexts. Integrative social contracts theory captures the significance of both individuals and the institutional environment and views COEs as a contractual obligation that guides managers and employees to manage contradictions between local and global norms. Within these theoretical framings, significant variations in the nature and stakeholder orientations of COEs have been detected across the developed and developing world. In the developed contexts, a comparative institutional analysis using the national business system approach shows that while in the compartmentalized cluster (the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and Japan), expectations of market participants and firm owners are key drivers of COEs; in the collaborative cluster (Germany, Ireland, and the Netherlands), firms develop COEs that have a wider focus oriented towards multiple stakeholders such as employees, suppliers, and the environment. Whereas in the state-organized cluster (South Korea, Spain, Greece, and Slovakia) the role and the nature of the state are important guiding factors. The coordinated industrial district cluster (Italy) characterized by alliances among smaller artisanal firms demonstrates a human-centric view of business embedded within their COEs. Excluded from the national business systems categorization, the Nordic cluster displays a unique distinctiveness in its approach to COEs through the presence of a structured moral apparatus within firms. In the developing world, country-specific institutional characteristics play a vital role behind adoption of localized a COE, yet nonstate actors—namely multinationals enterprises, and international and supranational institutions—promote the diffusion of hyper-norms. Given the pervasiveness of corporate misconduct despite the global diffusion of COEs, scholars must pay heed to understand the conditions under which gaps between a COE adoption and implementation arise. Equally, more scholarly attention needs to be accorded to a systematic investigation of COEs in transitional and emerging contexts. This becomes particularly necessary in the face of sociological changes, a fast-evolving landscape of local and transnational regulations including those arising from global events such climate change, and COVID-19, and the co-existence of multilevel COEs at the industry, firm, and professional levels.

Article

Corporate governance research has a long and varied history, having evolved from a broad number of scholarly disciplines, including sociology, law, finance, and management. Across these various disciplines, it is maintained that governance is essential to corporate success, as it provides strategic and ethical guidance to the company. While research has largely focused on internal mechanisms through which governance is enacted (such as ownership arrangements, board structures, managerial rewards and incentives, etc.), external forces and mechanisms are increasingly important to modern businesses. External corporate governance mechanisms emanate from outside the organization and support forces that promote governance structures, processes, and practices by top executives and board directors. Institutions, industries, markets, networks, and strong individual external stakeholders all work to influence corporate governance decisions and behaviors both directly and indirectly. The external forces induce mechanisms that influence desirable behaviors or intervene when internal mechanisms are compromised or ineffective. Recent literature on external governance mechanisms can help scholars and practitioners develop a better understanding of this important area of inquiry, and future research should consider three broad suggestions to move the field forward: differentiating between forces and mechanisms; recognizing unique stakeholders, boundaries, and levels of analysis; and improving empirical designs to better recognize and understand what factors matter in instituting governance adjustments and behavior changes.

Article

Donald R. Lessard and D. Eleanor Westney

Strategy in a global setting involves competition in industries that extend across national boundaries and among firms with different national home bases that may tap into strategic resources in more than one location. The resources that the firm accesses from its home country provide it with international competitive advantage only if they are relevant in other markets, if the value they create is appropriable, and if they are transferable to those markets (RAT), These resources include tangible assets and factors of production, but, importantly, also the capabilities the firm develops. Similarly, the resources that it taps from other contexts provide it with further competitive advantage only if these resources are complementary to the firm’s existing resources, appropriable, and transferable to the locations where it can exploit them (CAT). These two sets of factors—RAT and CAT—provide a framework for international strategic decisions that emphasizes developing, acquiring, and transferring capabilities.

Article

In international business, teams can take on a variety of forms, including domestic collocated teams, multinational collocated teams, global virtual teams, and multicultural teams. All of these types of teams offer the potential for developing innovative products and services, but they also may face substantial challenges with respect to collaboration and coordination. Team members are likely to identify with a variety of affiliations, based on dimensions such as gender, family roles, ethnicity, culture, nation, profession, organization, and team. Identification with each of these social groups brings with it the opportunity for diverse insights and perspectives, skill breadth, and broad social connections. However, this can lead to both benefits and challenges for teams. As a result, the ability to negotiate identities has become critical in international business. Drawing upon concepts of social identity, an identity lens can be used to document the promise and problems of teams in international business. An understanding of how multiple identity interactions within an individual can affect processes and outcomes for the team has the potential to create a more nuanced comprehension of international teams.

Article

Immigrant entrepreneurs are different, and they are everywhere. They can be unambiguously distinguished from entrepreneurs without a migration background. They operate under distinct conditions and respond to unique opportunities and challenges. They have specific motivational, economic, and social resources at their disposal, for example, ethnic solidarity and international networks. Their knowledge of languages and cultures, as well as the high pressure to integrate themselves into a new society, can be factors that stimulate entrepreneurship and innovation. It is hard to find countries with no immigrant entrepreneurs. In many places like the United States, Canada, or South East Asia, they play a substantial economic role. The ubiquity, dynamism, and significance of immigrant entrepreneurs has led to a spate of research projects since the 1990s, especially by economic sociologists and ethnologists, but also by management scholars and historians. On the basis of their work, the article distinguishes six different ideal types of immigrant entrepreneurs, even though these categories are neither clear-cut nor mutually exclusive. Necessity entrepreneurs react to blocked careers in other areas and often set up small, precarious businesses, out of which in exceptional cases more viable companies emerge. Diaspora merchants are part of commercial networks of people with the same ethnic background who live in foreign countries and trade with each other. Transnational entrepreneurs are not necessarily part of networks and do not always engage in mercantile activities. This category also encompasses individual actors and industrial activities. They are characterized by the ability to mobilize resources in several countries and facilitate activities between different countries. Middleman minorities stand between the majority society and third parties, often minorities. They fill niches that are left by indigenous businesses, which consider these areas as unattractive. Entrepreneurs in ethnic enclave economies live and work with their co-ethnics in neighborhoods defined by their group. Their main function is to cater to their own communities, often with ethnic products such as food or publications from their countries of origin. Refugee entrepreneurs leave their home country involuntarily, often driven out by violence and expropriation. In most cases their emigration is unprepared. Starting conditions in the country of destination are unfavorable. Conversely, the pressure for social integration is pronounced and can act as an impulse for self-employment. There are, however, cases in which refugees are consciously patronized or even summoned by the governments of the receiving countries, turning them into a highly privileged group.

Article

Internationalization of R&D facilitates knowledge sourcing of multinational corporations (MNCs) on a global scale. As MNCs internationalize R&D, they not only engage in domestic-driven R&D but are actively involved in overseas-driven R&D. And accordingly, the role of overseas R&D laboratories often evolves, from applying the HQ-generated innovation to local market, to innovating locally and contributing to the parent company. Within an MNC boundary, knowledge flows have become multidirectional: on top of the most typical knowledge flows from headquarters (HQ) to a subsidiary, reverse knowledge flows from a subsidiary to HQ as well as horizontal knowledge flows among overseas subsidiaries have become more salient. In addition to knowledge flows within a firm, increasing attention has been paid to external knowledge sourcing, i.e., knowledge sourcing from foreign locations outside the firm. MNCs commonly engage in local knowledge sourcing, i.e., sourcing knowledge from an overseas local environment, to tap into local hotbeds of innovation. But MNCs are also increasingly conducting global knowledge sourcing, i.e., sourcing knowledge from around the world, to practise global open innovation. Theoretically, knowledge sourcing in international R&D has often been examined from the capability and embeddedness perspectives. The effect of capability has been discussed in connection with motivation, autonomy, and mandates of subsidiaries. The effect of embeddedness has been discussed in connection with complementarity between external and internal embeddedness. As future research agenda, the following are suggested. First, cross-fertilization among the research fields of international R&D, global innovation, and open innovation deserves further attention. Second, greater research focus can be placed on managerial processes of global knowledge sourcing. Third, further research can be advanced on global knowledge sourcing at the team level. Fourth, the association between corporate governance and global knowledge sourcing can be investigated further. Fifth, much more attention needs to be paid to microfoundations of global knowledge sourcing. And lastly, further evolving patterns of global knowledge sourcing by advanced country multinationals (AMNCs) and emerging economies multinationals (EMNCs) continue to be relevant.

Article

In 1975, the phrase “vertical dyad linkage” (VDL) was introduced to begin examining the quality of the roles between the leaders and direct reports, and it was soon discovered that the linkages ranged between high quality and low quality. That linkage progressed into “leader–member exchange” (LMX) in 1982. In essence, research reached a point where it found a continuum of the quality of the relationship between the two members. High-quality relationships put the employees into the leader’s “ingroup,” while low-quality relationships left employees on the outside looking in. It followed that those in the ingroup would have some say in the decision-making, would have easier access to the leader, and would garner more respect and “liking.” Researchers have used the LMX-7 to examine how the quality of superior/subordinate relationships affects individual, interpersonal, and organization factors like job satisfaction, communication motives, and organizational identification (as did the original LMX scale). Although the LMX-7 remains one of the most prominent psychometric measures of LMX, researchers still debate whether the construct should be considered unidimensional or multidimensional. While the intricacies of LMX-7 versus LMX have been argued, and with teams becoming more of an organizational resource, team–member exchange (TMX) was found to be a supported extension of LMX. While at this point TMX is lacking in the volume and pace of research, due to the difficulties of measurement among a group of people who might have a variety of leaders during the process, the existing research has produced some results that are extremely relevant, now and in the future. Examples of what has been found when the team exchange relationship is high include reduced stress, increased psychological empowerment, increased creativity, increased team performance, increased individual performance, increased organizational citizenship behaviors, increased organizational commitment, and increased job satisfaction, just to name a few. In sum, the investigation into LMX provides a history of the field of LMX and its many iterations and the role it plays in leadership studies. This research includes LMX antecedents, consequences, moderators, mediators, and outcomes, as any field in which over 4,500 papers have been published needs an effective way to highlight the progress and pathways.

Article

Theoretical developments in economics, alongside evidence that state-owned enterprises were often inefficient and unresponsive to consumers, led to a substantial program of privatizations from the 1980s. Privatization can take a number of forms, from the outright sale of state-owned assets to private investors to forms of public-private partnership, such as contracting out and franchising of public services. Privatization was promoted in both developed and developing countries, and large-scale privatizations occurred in Europe, Latin America, China, and the former communist economies of Central and Eastern Europe, in particular. Privatization revenues rose substantially from the late 1980s internationally. Taking the years 1988 to 2016, revenues from sales are estimated to have been around $3,634bn. In terms of main sectors of the economy affected, privatizations have particularly occurred in telecommunications, transport and logistics (mainly railways, airlines, and airports), other utility businesses (especially energy companies), and finance. Numerous empirical studies suggest that the performance of the privatized businesses and services has been mixed. While privatization has led to some impressive economic gains, in a number of countries, wider governance issues relating to political and legal systems have led to disappointing outcomes. Privatization has not always led to the removal of state interference in the management of businesses and services. Corruption and cronyism have blighted a number of privatizations. State sell-offs have led to income and wealth redistribution with gainers and losers from the process. Some privatizations have led to spectacular capital gains for investors. The impact of privatization on employment and working conditions remains unclear. There are a number of issues that deserve further investigation, namely the consequences of privatization for technological change and innovation, competition policy, and income and wealth distribution. A further subject for investigation is how the effective and efficient management of state-owned enterprises can be best achieved. The boundary between the private and public sectors remains fluid, with a number of enterprises returning to state ownership as political and economic conditions change.

Article

During the last decade, qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) has become an increasingly popular research approach in the management and business literature. As an approach, QCA consists of both a set of analytical techniques and a conceptual perspective, and the origins of QCA as an analytical technique lie outside the management and business literature. In the 1980s, Charles Ragin, a sociologist and political scientist, developed a systematic, comparative methodology as an alternative to qualitative, case-oriented approaches and to quantitative, variable-oriented approaches. Whereas the analytical technique of QCA was developed outside the management literature, the conceptual perspective underlying QCA has a long history in the management literature, in particular in the form of contingency and configurational theory that have played an important role in management theories since the late 1960s. Until the 2000s, management researchers only sporadically used QCA as an analytical technique. Between 2007 and 2008, a series of seminal articles in leading management journals laid the conceptual, methodological, and empirical foundations for QCA as a promising research approach in business and management. These articles led to a “first” wave of QCA research in management. During the first wave—occurring between approximately 2008 and 2014—researchers successfully published QCA-based studies in leading management journals and triggered important methodological debates, ultimately leading to a revival of the configurational perspective in the management literature. Following the first wave, a “second” wave—between 2014 and 2018—saw a rapid increase in QCA publications across several subfields in management research, the development of methodological applications of QCA, and an expansion of scholarly debates around the nature, opportunities, and future of QCA as a research approach. The second wave of QCA research in business and management concluded with researchers’ taking stock of the plethora of empirical studies using QCA for identifying best practice guidelines and advocating for the rise of a “neo-configurational” perspective, a perspective drawing on set-theoretic logic, causal complexity, and counterfactual analysis. Nowadays, QCA is an established approach in some research areas (e.g., organization theory, strategic management) and is diffusing into several adjacent areas (e.g., entrepreneurship, marketing, and accounting), a situation that promises new opportunities for advancing the analytical technique of QCA as well as configurational thinking and theorizing in the business and management literature. To advance the analytical foundations of QCA, researchers may, for example, advance robustness tests for QCA or focus on issues of endogeneity and omitted variables in QCA. To advance the conceptual foundations of QCA, researchers may, for example, clarify the links between configurational theory and related theoretical perspectives, such as systems theory or complexity theory, or develop theories on the temporal dynamics of configurations and configurational change. Ultimately, after a decade of growing use and interest in QCA and given the unique strengths of this approach for addressing questions relevant to management research, QCA will continue to influence research in business and management.

Article

Increasing levels of cultural diversity requires a system of higher education structured to facilitate intercultural learning and develop individuals who are prepared to work in a culturally diverse environment, and can make decisions and manage people cognizant of cultural differences. Three main approaches to facilitate intercultural learning in the classroom have emerged: transfer of cultural knowledge, cultural experiences, and reflection on experience. Each of these approaches has a role to play at different stages of intercultural development. Three stages of intercultural development are proposed: (1) Monocultural stage, referring to a stage in which individuals are unaware of cultural differences; (2) Cross-cultural stage, in which individuals recognize and understand cultural differences but lack behavioral skills to deal with them; and (3) Intercultural stage, in which individuals can draw on a repertoire of behaviors to influence and shape intercultural interactions in ways that facilitate understanding and create opportunities for cooperation. Reflection on experience is proposed to be particularly useful to support the development of intercultural competence. Reflection is a thinking process focusing on examining a thought, event, or situation to make it more comprehensible and to learn from it. A four-step reflection process is proposed: (1) Describe experience; (2) Reflect on experience; (3) Learn from experience; and (4) Apply learning. Suggestions on using reflection in the classroom are proposed.

Article

Niels Viggo Haueter

The function of reinsurance is to absorb the risks of the direct insurance industry. This has two main purposes: (i) reinsurance capital allows direct insurers to write more business, and (ii) it protects them against balance sheet fluctuations caused by large and unexpected losses. The reinsurance market is served by a relatively small group of some 200 professional reinsurers. However, throughout history a variety of alternative forms appeared that could be used to distribute risks beyond one insurer. Co-insurance, for example, was one of the main forms of secondary risk spread in the marine community for centuries. It dominated the London market and was, to a large degree, responsible for the late and restricted development of reinsurance companies in Anglo-Saxon markets. The emergence of ever-larger risks in the 20th century forced the industry to focus increasingly on dealing with large losses and capping the maximum exposures of insurers. This made the business more financial, a trend which received a new boost with the advent of insurance-linked securities (ILSs) in the 1990s. Since then, the market for alternative risk transfer (ART) has grown, not least with the advent of new investors such as different investment funds that provide alternative risk capital. However, towards the 2020s, professional reinsurers started gaining ground again after a series of large natural catastrophes and with the continuous rise of Asian economies. Since the 2010s, growth opportunities for reinsurance are sought mostly in emerging markets and by making more risks insurable. Emerging market growth, however, is challenging and the gap between insured and insurable economic losses is still widening. Since the turn of the millennium, the industry has invested in finding solutions to close this so-called protection gap. Professional reinsurers are also seeking to develop new markets by making emerging risks such as cybercrime insurable. Yet such dynamic risks are fundamentally different from older static risks. Solutions are sought in applying methods that already made natural catastrophes insurable, modelling techniques, and ART products.

Article

George M. Puia and Mark D. Potts

Although risk is an essential element of the business landscape and one of the more widely researched topics in business, there is noticeably less scholarship on strategic risk. Business risk literature tends to only delineate characteristics of risk that are operational rather than strategic in nature. The current operational risk paradigm focuses primarily on only two dimensions of risk: the probability of its occurrence and the severity of its outcomes. In contrast, literature in the natural and social sciences exhibits greater dimensionality in the risk lexicon, including temporal risk dimensions absent from academic business discussions. Additionally, descriptions of operational risk included minimal linkage to strategic outcomes that could constrain or enable resources, markets, or competition. When working with a multidimensional model of risk, one can adjust the process of environmental scanning and risk assessment in ways that were potentially more measurable. Given the temporal dimensions of risk, risk management cannot always function proactively. In risk environments with short risk horizons, rapid risk acceleration, or limited risk reaction time, firms must utilize dynamic capabilities. The literature proposes multiple approaches to managing risk that are often focused on single challenges or solutions. By combining a strategic management focus with a multidimensional model of strategic risk, one can match risk management protocols to specific strategic challenges. Lastly, one of more powerful dimensions of risky events is their ability to differentially affect competitors, changing the basis of competition. Risk need not solely be viewed as defending against potential losses; many risky occurrences may represent new strategic opportunities.

Article

Pierre-Yves Donzé

The Swiss watch industry has enjoyed uncontested domination of the global market for more than two decades. Despite high costs and high wages, Switzerland is the home of most of the largest companies in this industry. Scholars in business history, economics, management studies, and other social sciences focused on four major issues to explain such success. The first is product innovation, which has been viewed as one of the key determinants of competitiveness in the watch industry. Considerable attention has been focused on the development of electronic watches during the 1970s, as well as the emergence of new players in Japan and Hong Kong. Yet the rebirth of mechanical watches during the early 1990s as luxury accessories also can be characterized as a product innovation (in this case, linked to marketing strategy rather than pure technological innovation). Second, brand management has been a key instrument in changing the identity of Swiss watches, repositioning them as a luxury business. Various strategies have been adopted since the early 1990s to add value to brands by using culture as a marketing resource. Third, the evolution of the industry’s structure emphasizes a deep transformation during the 1980s, characterized by a shift from classical industrial districts to multinational enterprises. Concentration in Switzerland, as well as the relocation abroad of some production units through foreign direct investment (FDI) and independent suppliers, have enabled Swiss watch companies to control manufacturing costs and regain competitiveness against Japanese firms.Fourth, studying the institutional framework of the Swiss watch industry helps to explain why this activity was not fully relocated abroad, unlike most sectors in low-tech industries. The cartel that was in force from the 1920s to the early 1960s, and then the Swiss Made law of 1971, are two major institutions that shaped the watch industry.

Article

Niels Viggo Haueter

Reinsurance is perceived to have a stabilizing effect on the direct insurance industry and thereby on the economy overall. Yet, research into how exactly reinsurance impacts various areas is scarce. Traditionally, studying the impact of reinsurance used to be in the domain of actuaries; since the 1960s, they have tried to assess how different contract elements can provide what came to be called “optimal reinsurance.” In the 2010s, such research was intensified in developing countries with the aim to deploy reinsurance to support economic growth and security. Interest in reinsurance increased when the industry became more visible in the 1990s as the impact of natural catastrophes started being linked to a changing climate. Reinsurers emerged as spokespeople for climate-related issues, and the industry took a lead role in arguing in favor of implementing measures to reduce environmental deterioration. Reinsurers, it was argued, have a vested interest in managing the impact of natural catastrophes. This triggered discussions about the role of reinsurance overall and about how to assess its impact. In the wake of the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008, interest in reinsurance again surged, this time due to perceived systemic impacts.

Article

Sherry E. Sullivan and Shawn M. Carraher

The kaleidoscope career model (KCM) was developed by Mainiero and Sullivan in 2006 based on data from interviews, focus groups, and three surveys of over 3,000 professionals working in the United States. The metaphor of a kaleidoscope was used to describe how an individual’s career alters in response to alternating needs for authenticity, balance, and challenge within a changing internal and external life context. As a kaleidoscope produces changing patterns when its tube is rotated and its glass chips fall into new arrangements, the KCM describes how individuals change the pattern of their careers by rotating the varied aspects of their lives to arrange their work–nonwork roles and relationships in new ways. Individuals examine the choices and options available to create the best fit among various work demands, constraints, and opportunities given their personal values and interests. The ABCs of the KCM are authenticity, balance, and challenge. Authenticity is an individual’s need to make choices that reflect their true self. People seek alignment between their values and their behaviors. Balance is an individual’s need to achieve an equilibrium between the work and nonwork aspects of life. Nonwork life aspects are defined broadly to include not only spouse/partners and children but also parents, siblings, elderly relatives, friends, the community, personal interests, and hobbies. Challenge is an individual’s need for stimulating work that is high in responsibility, control, and/or autonomy. Challenge includes career advancement, often measured as intrinsic or extrinsic success. All three parameters are always active throughout the life span, and all influence decision-making. One parameter, however, usually takes priority; this parameter has greater influence in shaping an individual’s career decisions or transitions at that point in time. Over an individual’s life, the three parameters shift, with one parameter moving to the foreground and intensifying in strength as it takes priority at that time. The other two parameters will lessen in intensity, receding into the background, but they remain active.

Article

When it was developed in 1977, the Uppsala internationalization process model (Uppsala model for short) had three basic premises: process ontology, behavioral assumptions, and the presence of uncertainty. Multinational business enterprises (MBEs), among all actors, were in their infancy, and their future could not be known. Later on, the model was extended to cover the evolution of the MBEs, with factors such as internationalization, globalization, and the development of characteristics prompting changes and making them possible. Likewise, the knowledge concept was substituted for by capabilities, operational and dynamic, fitting well the other concepts of the model. The neoclassical view of the firm as an independent unit on the market is considered unrealistic. Instead, firms, MBEs, and small and medium enterprises are seen as embedded in networks with other cooperating and competing actors. The mechanisms of the 2017 version, though, are the same as in the original version. Hopefully, the latest version can be used as a tool within the scope of the “theory of the firm” research and as a platform for more studies on causal mechanisms, later to be applied in normative conclusions. It follows that static cross-sectional statistical methods are not fully satisfactory. Application of dynamic analytical methods requires investment in longitudinal data collection, which is costly, and has to be performed by institutions rather than individuals. A dream is that the Uppsala model can be used as a stepping stone in the construction of realistic macro-level studies of the economy.