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The Metropolitan Effect: Colonial Influence on the Internationalization of Francophone African Firms

  • Tah Ahmed Meouloud (a1), Ram Mudambi (a1) and TL Hill (a1)
Abstract

Drawing on the experience of firms of various sizes from Francophone Africa, we explore how the internationalization trajectories of frontier economy firms may vary from those predicted by theory. The firms studied followed social, linguistic, cultural, and institutional gradients to internationalize first to France, rather than to neighboring countries, and did so in search of not only markets and resources but also legitimacy. In turn, the sales, resources, and legitimacy acquired in France supported further international expansion, sometimes even to neighboring countries. Although our insights derive from the experience of Francophone firms from Africa, we argue that for firms from all former colonies, the internationalization trajectory leads through the colonial center. Our findings underline the roles of legitimacy-seeking and network ties in the internationalization of frontier market firms and serve as a salutatory reminder of the lingering influence of colonial ties on international business.

借鉴讲法语的非洲地区不同规模企业的经验,我们探讨从事前沿经济的公司的国际化轨迹怎样与理论预测有所不同。所研究的公司根据社会的、语言的、文化的和制度的梯度进行国际化,首先到法国而非邻国,这样做不仅是为了寻求市场和资源,而且是为了获得合法性。相应地,从法国获得的销售、资源和合法性支持了公司进一步的国际扩张,有时甚至扩张到邻近国家。尽管我们的洞察来自非洲讲法语的公司的经验,我们认为就那些来自前殖民地的企业来说,国际化轨迹是从殖民中心开始的。我们的发现强调了前沿市场公司在国际化过程中追求合法性和网络关系的作用,也提醒人们殖民关系对于国际商务具有持续的影响。

Опираясь на опыт различных компаний из франкоязычной Африки, мы исследуем, как траектории интернационализации компаний в приграничной экономике могут отличаться от предсказанных теорией. Компании, которые были изучены в данной работе, следовали социальным, лингвистическим, культурным и институциональным факторам для интернационализации сначала во Францию, а не в соседние страны, в поисках не только рынков и ресурсов, но и легитимности. В свою очередь, рост продаж, ресурсы и легитимность, приобретенные во Франции, способствовали дальнейшей международной экспансии, в том числе в соседние страны. Несмотря на то, что наши выводы основаны на опыте франкоязычных компаний из Африки, мы утверждаем, что траектория интернационализации компаний из всех бывших колоний проходит через колониальный центр. Наши результаты подчеркивают важную роль легитимности и социальных связей в процессе интернационализации компаний в приграничной экономике, а также служат отличным напоминанием о продолжающемся влиянии колониальных связей на международный бизнес.

Basándonos en la experiencia de empresas de varios tamaños de África Francófona, exploramos como las trayectorias de internacionalización de empresas de economía de frontera pueden variar de aquellas predichas por la teoría. Las empresas estudiadas siguen gradientes sociales, lingüísticas, culturales e institucionales para internacionalizarse primero a Francia, en lugar qué a sus países vecinos, y lo hacen en búsqueda no sólo de mercados y recursos sino de legitimidad. En cambio, las ventas, recursos y legitimidad adquirida en Francia apoyaron una mayor expansión internacional, incluso a veces a países vecinos. Aunque nuestros conocimientos se derivan de la experiencia empresas francófonas de África, argumentamos que, para las empresas de todas las antiguas colonias, la trayectoria de internacionalización lleva a través del centro colonial. Nuestros hallazgos subrayan los roles de búsqueda de legitimidad y lazos de red en la internacionalización de empresa de mercado frontera y sirve como un recordatorio de la influencia persistente de los lazos coloniales en negocios internacionales.

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Corresponding author
Corresponding author: Ram Mudambi (rmudambi@temple.edu)
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Accepted by: Deputy Editor Helena Barnard

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