Management Decision Special Issue on Managing in a Polarized Regional World:

The Case of Latin America and the Caribbean


Call for Papers

Special Issue in Management Decision


Special Issue Editor

Fernando Robles- George Washington University


The Context 


The recent financial crisis has exposed an increasingly polarized global
economic order: stagnation in advanced developed economies and growth and
rising affluence in emerging countries.  As a result, polarization is
shaping the regional order, in particular in Latin America. A group of
economies in this region is  experiencing sustainable economic growth and
strong domestic markets. This group of South American countries led by
Brazil includes Colombia, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, Peru, and Uruguay.  A
second group of countries in the region is stagnating economically and
becoming immersed in chaos, violence, and social instability.  This second
group is led by Mexico and includes most if not all of the Central American
economies and some Caribbean countries. The former group has achieved
sustainable growth to a great extent due to a combination of prudent
macroeconomic policies, innovative social programs that alleviate poverty,
and flexibility to realign their productive structure to meet the immense
market opportunities of Asian growth.   The latter group of economies is
closely integrated with the now stagnant advanced economies in terms of
trade, investment and remittances. As their economies deteriorate, poverty
and violence increase.  This polarization creates structural differences in
both groups. The growing economies overheat, suffer from exchange rate
appreciation and inflationary pressures but enjoy growing local markets
driven by an expanding middle class, and increased reserves. On the other
hand, the depressed group of economies in the region exhibits large fiscal
imbalances, loss of competitiveness to Asian competition, and dollarization.
At the macro economic level, policy makers in both groups face different
challenges and exercise a different mix of policy instruments to deal with
opposite macroeconomic situations.  In addition, both groups have in common
a legacy of issues that include poor educational systems, income inequality,
poor infrastructure, a large informal sector, corruption, obsolete legal and
regulatory frameworks, and in many cases a high cost of doing business.


The most remarkable feature of this polarization that is that it has taken
place over a very short time- the last five-to-seven years.  Local firms in
thriving markets are pressed to keep up with the challenges of fast growth
ranging from human resource shortages to shortages of supply to energy.
These challenges stem from the inadequate legacy environment, with a growing
concern for sustainability and social inclusion.  Consequently, research on
management challenges in this new context is also far behind. 




The purpose of this special issue is to call for insightful research to
enhance our understanding of how to manage in a polarized environment
(expansion/ stagnation) and resolve the challenges of these two contrasting
environments (growth/survival). 


Research Questions


Within this context, this special issue aims to address the following
general questions:


1.     What are the current management challenges that firms face in a
polarized Latin American environment? 

2.     How do firms meet these different challenges and what solutions
emerge as best practices to deal with stagnation or growth?

3.     If polarization continues and increases in the future, how would
firms’ vision, and strategies diverge in the region?


More specific questions relate to particular challenges in specific areas of
business and for firms in one of the polarized economies in the region.  The
following are illustrative, rather than exhaustive, of the type of research
that will fit well in the special issue.


How do firms deal with the challenges of retaining management talent in a
polarized regional world? The following illustrate the contrasts of
challenges. In growing environments like Brazil, management is scarce and
hard to retain. What incentives and human resource strategies work better to
keep talent from being attracted to other firms? In the stagnant economies
of the region, management talent is abundant and perhaps tempted to leave
the country in search of better professional opportunities. How do firms’
slow the talent migration? What are the best practices for retention in this


What type of strategies work better in an expansion or a survival mode?
Firms in the growth economies of Latin America deal with a case of wealth of
riches: a strong and growing mass market and also a strong export market in
Asia.  How do firms balance growth without taxing limited strategic
resources? On the other hand, how do firms in stagnant economies in the
region realign their strategies and productive structures to turn around
their fortunes?  Should these firms aim at growing Asian markets or the
growing economies in the region- the Brazil market for instance?


The special issue will also focus on more specific research questions issues
such as::


In the context of poor infrastructure, what supply and logistics strategies
help firms meet the increasing and more dispersed demands in domestic
markets?  In meeting the needs of the growing international markets, what
supply and logistics strategies allow firms to compensate for the distance
disadvantage vis-ŕ-vis closer competitors to Asian markets?


What product and pricing strategies are the best for the increasing middle
class affluence of consumers in markets in the expansionary economies?
Conversely, what marketing strategies work better for stagnant markets in
the region?


With increasing pressure to preserve natural ecosystems, how do firms
develop sustainable business strategies to meet the increasing global demand
for natural resource-based commodities  in large ecosystems (such as
Amazonia)? What systems of economic, environmental and social indicators are
used to manage growth and sustainability? 


We hope that this special issue provides the venue for research to establish
the foundation to study the long-term consequences of an increasing
polarized Latin America and Caribbean region.  Contributions are welcome to
address the topic of the special issue in the form of theoretical and
empirical contributions as well as case studies. Contributions of management
issues focusing on the contrasting contextual economic situations
(stagnation, expansion) and sustainable pressures (preservation and social
responsiveness) are also welcome. Manuscripts focusing on one of the
contexts or a comparative analysis of both will be considered. 


Submissions Instructions:


The deadline for submissions is March 30, 2012.  



All manuscripts will be subject to the  double-blind peer review process of
Management Decision.  Submissions should be prepared in accordance to the
Management Decision’s Author Guidelines


After registering on ScholarOne Manuscripts on follow the instructions to submit your
manuscript. Please be sure to not Special Issue on “Managing in a Polarized
Region,” when submitting your manuscript. 


Please direct any questions to the editor of the Special Issue.


Fernando Robles, George Washington University [log in to unmask]





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