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Africa Business Research as a Laboratory for Theory-Building: Extreme Conditions, New Phenomena, and Alternative Paradigms of Social Relationships

  • Helena Barnard (a1), Alvaro Cuervo-Cazurra (a2) and Stephan Manning (a3)
Abstract
ABSTRACT

Africa is an increasingly important business context, yet we still know little about it. We review the challenges and opportunities that firms in Africa face and propose that these can serve as the basis for extending current theories and models of the firm. We do so by challenging some of the implicit assumptions and stereotypes on firms in Africa and by proposing three avenues for extending theories. One is taking the extreme conditions of some Africa countries and using them as a laboratory for modifying current theories and models of the firm, as we illustrate in the case of institutional theory and the resource-based view. A second one is identifying new themes that arise from analyzing firms in Africa and their contexts of operation, and we discuss four themes: migrating multinationals and the meaning of home country, diaspora networks within and across countries, a recasting of cultural and institutional distance, and new hybrid organizational forms. A third one is developing new theories based on alternative paradigms of social relationships that have emerged in Africa that differ from those underpinning existing theories of the firm, such as kgotla and its view of community-based relationships or ubuntu and its humanizing view of relationships.

摘要:

非洲是一个越来越重要的商业情境, 但我们对它仍知之甚少。我们讨论非洲企业所面临的挑战和机遇, 并指出它们可以作为拓展公司现有理论和模型的基础。我们是通过挑战关于非洲企业的隐性假设和刻板观念并提出拓展理论的三个途径做到这一点的。一是吸取一些非洲国家的极端国情, 并用它们作为实验地来修改现有的公司理论和模型, 正如我们在制度理论和资源基础观中所说明的那样。二是通过对非洲公司及其营运情境进行分析找到新主题, 并讨论四个主题:迁移的跨国公司和母国的含义, 国家内外的侨民网络, 文化和制度距离的重新塑造, 以及新的混合组织形式。三是基于在非洲出现的与现有公司理论范式不同的社会关系的可替代范式来开发新理论, 例如, kgotla及社区基础关系, 或ubuntu及关系的人性化视角。

यद्यपि अफ्रीका का व्यावसायिक सन्दर्भ उत्त्तरोत्तर महत्त्वपूर्ण होता जा रहा है, तथापि उसके बारे में सीमित जानकारी है. हमने इस शोध पत्र में अफ़्रीकी फर्मों द्वारा अनुभवित चुनौतियों और अवसरों का पुनरीक्षण किया है और यह मत प्रस्तुत किया है की यह फर्म सम्बंधित सम्प्रति सिद्धान्तिओं और आदर्शों के विस्तार के आधार हो सकते हैं. हमने यह अफ़्रीकी फार्मों से सम्बंधित कुछ निहित मान्यताओं और रूढ़ियों को चुनौती दे कर किया है और साथ ही इन सिद्धांतों के विस्तार के तीन मार्ग प्रस्तावित किये हैं. पहला मार्ग अफ़्रीकी देशों की उग्र स्थितियों को प्रयोगशाला की तरह लेते हुए प्रचलित सिद्धांतों और आदर्शों के परिवर्तन का है, जैसा की हमने संसाधनपरक सिद्धांत और संस्थागत सिद्धांतों के सन्दर्भ में निरूपित किया है. दूसरा अफ़्रीकी फर्मों के सञ्चालन के परिवेश में विश्लेषण से उभरने वाली नयी विषय वस्तुओं का है, जिसमे हमने चार पर चर्चा की है: देशान्तरित बहुराष्ट्रीय कंपनियां और मूल देश का आशय, अन्तःदेशी और अंतर्देशीय प्रवासी संजाल, संस्थागत व सांस्कृतिक दूरी के सिद्धांत का पुनर्निर्माण और नविन मिश्रित संगठनीय स्वरूपों का निरूपण. तीसरा अफ्रीका जनित सामाजिक संबंधों के परिप्रेक्ष्य में वैकल्पिक सिद्धांतों का निर्माण है, जो प्रचलित सिद्धांतों से आधारभूत रूप से भिन्न हैं. उदाहरणतः गॉटला (kgotla) और उसका समुदायपरक संबंधों का दृष्टिकोण और उबुन्टु (ubuntu) का संबंधों का मानवीकरण नजरिया.

Sumário:

A África é um contexto de negócios cada vez mais importante, mas ainda sabemos muito pouco a respeito. Revemos os desafios e oportunidades que as empresas enfrentam na África e propomos que elas podem servir de base para ampliar as teorias e modelos atuais da empresa. Fazemos isso desafiando alguns dos pressupostos e estereótipos implícitos a respeito de empresas na África e propondo três caminhos para ampliar teorias. Um deles é levando as condições extremas de alguns países da África e usando-os como um laboratório para modificar as teorias e modelos atuais da empresa, como ilustramos no caso da teoria institucional e da visão baseada em recursos. O segundo é identificando novos temas que surgem a partir da análise de firmas da África e seus contextos de operação, e discutimos quatro temas: multinacionais que migram e o significado de país de origem, redes de diáspora dentro e entre os países, uma reformulação da distância cultural e institucional e novas formas organizacionais híbridas. O terceiro é desenvolvendo novas teorias baseadas em paradigmas alternativos de relações sociais que emergiram na África e que diferem daquelas que sustentam teorias existentes da empresa, como o kgotla e sua visão de relacionamentos baseados na comunidade ou ubuntu e sua visão humanizada de relacionamentos.

АННОТАЦИЯ:

Африка становится все более важным контекстом для бизнеса, но мы все еще очень мало знаем о ней. Мы рассматриваем проблемы и возможности, с которыми сталкиваются компании в Африке, и предлагаем, что они могли бы служить основой для распространения современных теорий и моделей. С этой целью, мы подвергаем сомнению некоторые из надуманных предположений и стереотипов в отношении компаний в Африке, а также предлагаем три способа развития теорий. По одному из них, экстремальные условия в некоторых африканских странах используются в качестве лаборатории для модификации существующих теорий и моделей, как в случае институциональной теории и ресурсного подхода. Второй способ – это выявление новых тем, которые возникают при анализе компаний в Африке в контексте их работы, и мы обсуждаем четыре темы: мигрирующие транснациональные корпорации и значение страны происхождения, связи диаспоры внутри и между странами, видоизменение культурной и институциональной дистанции, а также новые гибридные организационные формы. В третьих, это разработка новых теорий, основанных на альтернативных парадигмах социальных отношений, которые возникли в Африке и отличаются от тех, которые лежат в основе существующих теорий; например, kgotla в контексте общинных отношений или ubuntu в значении гуманистического подхода к социальным отношениям.

RESUMEN:

África es un contexto de negocios cada vez más importante, aunque aún sabemos muy poco al respecto. Revisamos los retos y las oportunidades que enfrentan las empresas en África y proponemos que estas pueden servir de base para extender las teorías y modelos actuales de la empresa. Lo hacemos retando algunas de las suposiciones y estereotipos de las empresas en África y proponemos tres posibilidades para extender las teorías. Una es tomando las condiciones extremas en algunos de los países en África y usándolos como un laboratorio para modificar las actuales teorías y modelos de la empresa, como ilustramos en el caso de la teoría institucional y la visión basada en recursos. Una segunda es identificando nuevos temas que surgen del analizar empresas en África y sus contextos de operación, y discutimos cuatro temas: migración de las multinacionales y el significado del país de origen, las redes de la diáspora en y entre las multinacionales, una reformulación de la distancia cultural e institucional, y las nuevas formas organizacionales hibridas. Una tercera es el desarrollo de nuevas teorías basadas en paradigmas alternativos de relaciones sociales que han surgido en África que difieren de aquellas teorías fundamentales existentes de la empresa, como kgotla y su visión de relaciones comunitarias o ubuntu y su visión humanizadora de las relaciones.

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