رقابت شرکت های داخلی با شرکت های چند ملیتی: ارتباط تشکل اتحاد دسترسی منابع
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Business Review, Volume 21, Issue 4, August 2012, Pages 588–601
The literature includes several papers that compare multinational enterprises (MNEs) to local firms along several dimensions such as financial strength or production capacity. Nevertheless, the focus on how latter firms compete against the former is often missing in the literature; local firms are typically seen as inferior in terms of resources and thus, unable to compete against MNEs. This paper aims at revisiting this competitive ‘battle’. Through a case-based design in a ‘multinational’ domestic market that seems to favour MNEs, we explore how local firms respond to MNEs’ purported superiority. Findings indicate that local firms respond through alliance formations that enable them to access fitting resources and counter ownership advantages of MNEs. Therefore, resource-accessing strategies spearheaded by local firms suggest that ownership advantages should not be inherently translated into competitive advantages for the MNEs. Implications for international business are discussed and avenues for further research are suggested.
An increasing number of authors caution about the lack of contextualisation in the international business (IB) field (Welch, Piekkari, Plakoyiannaki, & Paavilainen-Mäntymäki, 2010) stressing the need for ‘deep contextualisation’ (Tsui, 2007, p. 1357) and a clearer understanding of contextual effects (Li & Meyer, 2009). Following such calls, we adopt a context-specific view on how local firms in a single, multinational market respond to competitive challenges stemming from MNEs’ ownership advantages (OA). On the one hand, this contributes to the limited and rather a-contextual knowledge on the competitive ‘battle’ between MNEs and local firms. While there is fairly extensive literature that specifically compares multinationals with domestic enterprises along several dimensions (e.g. Coucke and Sleuwaegen, 2008, Halkos and Tzeremes, 2007, Mata and Portugal, 2002 and Xu et al., 2006), there is a dearth of research on how local firms confront the challenges of competing against the usually better-resourced MNEs. As Chang and Xu (2008) note, ‘research in strategic management …has typically studied these phenomena only from the perspective of multinational firms [emphasis added]… Except for studies on joint ventures, it has paid little attention to local firms, which compete with multinationals in local markets’ (p. 495). More specifically, local firms are mostly seen as passive recipients of, e.g. technology spillovers and not as active competitors in a given market ( Chang & Xu, 2008). Wright, Filatotchev, Hoskisson, and Peng (2005) also walk along the same lines and stress the need for more contextualised research on how domestic firms react to the strategies of foreign firms. Dawar and Frost (1999) also note the little guidance that local companies in their own markets can receive on how to compete against MNEs (p. 120), while Wu and Pangarkar (2006) suggest that future research should examine competitive interactions between MNCs and local firms observing that ‘an interesting possibility in this regard might include examining the role of alliances… to see if the more successful local firms were able to use alliances to enhance their competitive position [emphasis added]’ (p. 310). This perspective also allows us to put into context the tacit or explicit tendency to associate MNEs’ ‘ownership-specific (or competitive) [sic] advantages’ (Dunning, 1993, p. 183; Dunning, 1988) with competitive advantages (Cho and Lee, 2004, Grant, 1987, Kogut and Kulatilaka, 1994 and Sethi and Guisinger, 2002), i.e. the ‘systemic’ competitive advantages that the multinational network itself may offer to subsidiaries (Rugman & Verbeke, 2001, p. 243). These may also come as a result of ‘size, monopoly power, and better resource capability and usage’ as well as the co-ordinating abilities of MNEs (Dunning, 1993, p. 191). Based on an empirical, inductive analysis of how local firms respond to competitive threats posed by MNEs, we shed more light on the contextual forces under which OA of MNEs may not be translated into competitive advantages. We thus, follow calls from scholars who suggested that an in-depth lens allows organizational practices which vary across contexts (Bamberger, 2008 and Johns, 2006) to be unearthed contributing to the well-documented need for a contextual approach in IB research (Li and Meyer, 2009, Tsui, 2007 and Welch et al., 2010). We follow a qualitative, case study approach among FMCG firms in Greece, where large scale cross-border mobility of consumers/tourists in effect creates a multinational domestic market during the tourist season, which can be most of the year. This is not unique to Greece; there are several countries with large influxes of foreign tourists, from many countries and for a significant part of the year such as Spain, Italy, Austria, Mexico, France, Egypt, and Thailand. During the tourist season, local and foreign firms face the ‘international’ task of serving not only the ‘native’, permanent population but also a multinational group of consumers. Clearly not only tourism-related firms (e.g. tour operators or travel agents) are affected as tourists also consume a whole range of goods and services that are not produced by the tourist industry such as beers, soft drinks, ice creams and fast or snack food, i.e. fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG). Therefore, British tourists in Spain or American tourists in Mexico create additional challenges for such firms. The remainder of the paper is structured as follows. Section 2 elaborates on the conceptual background and Section 3 examines the resource ‘deficits’ of local firms explaining more fully two types of resource deficits, namely knowledge and property deficits. Section 4 focuses on the alliance-based, resource accessing strategy options that may in principle be available to local firms in competing with MNEs. Section 5 explains the methodological choices that helped us explore our topic. Section 6 provides detailed analysis of our cases and based on this analysis, in Section 7, we advance a posteriori propositions and we conclude by stressing the implications of our study for international business research and practice and by highlighting limitations and avenues for further research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This study suggests that local firms can usefully consider alliances as a viable means to compete against MNEs enjoying awareness among foreign consumers, knowledge on how these consumers behave and a strong retail presence in the country. This ‘local response’ is in line with researches in IB literature which highlight the importance of inter-organizational relationships as a way of handling environmental turbulence and competitive pressures (Holm, Holmstörm, & Sharma, 2005). Das and Teng (2000, p. 51) state that firms combine resources through inter-organizational relationships “…in order to pursue market opportunities that are otherwise beyond reach”. Indeed, alliances seem to help local firms access resources that reflect the OA MNEs enjoy and as such they are able to compete in a similar fashion towards exploiting the ‘tourism’ opportunity. This would be unachievable without the commensurate benefits associated with alliance activities. We also stress the suggestive rather than the definitive character of findings. The study is restricted to a country that has a dominant environmental idiosyncrasy stemming from its transformation into an ‘international’ market. As a result, the need for alliances is reinforced whereas the need for accessing resources beyond one's firm may not be equally important in a stable environment. Therefore, differences across stable and unstable contexts must be acknowledged in order to clarify the extent to which resource-accessing from inter-connected firms is relevant for local firms. Moreover, the limited number of case studies used cannot allow us to generalise the insights from this study to a larger population or to a different country context. Therefore, it must be stressed that the study does not have a prescriptive character nor can inform on the ‘appropriateness’ of such strategies to firms facing similar challenges. Therefore, this research could benefit if supplemented by studies in more contexts with similar idiosyncrasies involving firms of varying levels of proprietary resource bases. Local firms do not necessarily lag behind MNEs in terms of resources and therefore a distinction between local firms of varying degrees of resource bases or other sources of competitive advantage (e.g. price-based) could shed more light on the importance of alliance structures. For example, small, resource-disadvantaged local firms suffering from cost inefficiencies may collaborate with a more sophisticated MNE which may be running its production facilities at an optimum level and thus, help local firms avail of an improvement in their cost structures (Sharma, 2008 and Sharma, 2009). On the other hand though, some local firms may already possess manufacturing processes resulting to high quality levels (Sharma, 2010) and thus, alliance formations may not necessarily enhance the competitiveness of the organization. This variation in the sample will be useful given that firms with limited resources benefit more than more affluent partners in an inter-organizational configuration (Stuart, 2000).