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Three Essays on Emerging-Market Business Groups


Three Essays on Emerging-Market Business Groups

Liang, Zhixiang (2019) Three Essays on Emerging-Market Business Groups. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Much of the literature on emerging market Business Group (henceforth BG) views the subject in a monochrome ‘paragons or parasites’ dichotomy. In these divergent perspectives, BGs have either a positive or negative effect on economic and institutional development. In the paragon view, BGs emerge as an organizing mechanism to address weak institutions by internalizing market transactions. However, with the development of market-supporting institutions, BGs become less efficient and theory predicts their dissolution and replacement with independent freestanding firms. In the parasite view, BGs emerge but develop strong economic and political power, which are used to block the development of market supporting institutions and support their entrenchment in a stagnant domestic economy, consistent with a middle-income trap.
The overarching goal of this thesis is to address this dichotomous paradigm and investigate why neither perspective adequately explains the phenomenon of long-lived and efficient BGs. In some economies, BGs emerge, persist, and exhibit increasing efficiency and international competitiveness accompanied by continuing institutional development. More specifically, this thesis aims to offer more nuanced understanding between BGs and their institutional context to understand their resilience during market transitions. The dissertation addresses its theme with three related essays. The first investigates the fundamental source of the emergence and persistence of BG in a shifting institutional environment. Empirical results show that several complementary bundles of management practice differentiate BG affiliates and independent firms in the early phase of development but become less prominent at later stages. The second essay considers the export performance of BG affiliates through organizational capability lens to distinguish between market and nonmarket capabilities. This paper finds support for the hypothesis that BGs utilized superior nonmarket capabilities on enhancing their export performance and suppressing other’s internationalization, but these advantages would be mitigated in a jurisdiction with better political and social support. The third essay complements process theories of emerging market BGs internationalization by considering the structural conditions for successful early-stage internationalization. We propose that international political economy origins have long-lasting path-dependent effects on BG strategy and structure and find strong evidence that BG affiliates in Latin America are less likely to export than are those in Asia.
The overall implication of the thesis is to present a vibrant picture of BGs in their institutional context. Empirically, this thesis is among the first few to perform empirical research with firm-level microdata BG, collected from the World Bank Enterprise Surveys. The large multi-country dataset allows for a comparative analysis of the issues, while most BG research focuses on single country settings. This thesis contributes a cross-country study using a BG standard definition, thereby adding to a comparative understanding of BG persistence. This thesis also adds to the literature by identifying explicitly non-financial consequences of group affiliation. To sum up, this thesis offers insights for future research on the broader spectrum regarding institutional spheres where BGs associated with and its either positive or negative inter-connections.

Divisions:Concordia University > John Molson School of Business > Management
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Liang, Zhixiang
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Business Administration (Management specialization)
Date:3 September 2019
Thesis Supervisor(s):Carney, Michael
Keywords:Business Group, Missing Institutions, Management Practice, Export Performance, Emerging Markets, International Political Economy
ID Code:986475
Deposited On:25 Jun 2020 18:33
Last Modified:01 May 2022 00:00
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