Mehmet Demirbag and Geoffrey T. Wood
There has been a growing body of literature dealing with business and management issues in the transitional economies of Central and Eastern Europe. In contrast, a few notable exceptions notwithstanding, the literature on the “transitional periphery” – the post-Soviet economies of the Caucasus and Central Asia is sparse – with existing accounts largely dealing with macro-economic and political developments. Yet, many of these economies are of considerable importance and relevance owing to rich natural resource endowments, combined with strategic locations.
However, economies in the region generally battle under weak and corrupt political institutions, with a large number of endemic border and internal ethnic disputes, as well as rising social inequality Many emerging businesses battle under chronic failings by governance, even if others benefit from political patronage: another burden is that traditional supply chain routes have broken down following on independence. All countries have faced rising social inequality, lop-sided and underdeveloped consumer markets, and potentially destabilizing levels of youth unemployment. It would be a mistake, however, to assume that organizational outcomes across the region are homogenous: there is evidence, for example, of much difference in managerial practices reflecting variations in cultural setting.
A number of these countries are significant producers of oil and gas, which brings with it dangers of the resource curse: this would include an over-reliance on a single revenue source to the neglect of other areas of the economy, over-valued currencies, regional imbalances, and rising corruption. Indeed, there is much evidence that this process is already well underway, even while oil resources are fast depleting. In addition, all countries have faced rising social inequality, lop-sided and underdeveloped consumer markets, and potentially destabilizing levels of youth unemployment. A further phenomenon has been the rise of quasi-states in the Caucasus (for example, Nagorno-Karabakh, South Ossetia), disrupting trade and markets and making for open-ended tensions.
Despite this, natural resource endowments and, in some instances, historic links and/or prosperous diasporas have meant that countries on the transitional periphery have also become important destinations for foreign direct investment (FDI) and multinational firms’ (MNCs) operations. FDI flows to transitional periphery not only from western developed economies, but also from other emerging countries and regions (South-South FDI). Given the transitional nature of institutions and complexities associated with governance of organizations, management of relations with governments, political elites, and trade unions appear to be increasingly challenging. Countries on the periphery of transition have administrative heritages which are significantly different than that of other emerging regions.
To date, transitional countries on the periphery are still a terra incognita and our stock of knowledge in business and management practices remain mired in anecdotal evidence. Given the importance of these resource rich countries and potential for investment, the neglect of publications focused on periphery of transition is astonishing. Over the last two decades these countries have been undergoing profound and uneven institutional transformations which have ramifications for both emerging and developed country MNCs. Institutional settings in periphery of transition often necessitates MNCs to design different strategies to deal with the complex competitive dynamics in these countries. This special issue will provide insights into the challenges faced by MNCs in the region and develop concepts, models and tools for both policy makers and managers in these countries. The proposed special Issue offers a rare and unique opportunity for scholars engaged in research on these firms to share their findings in such a scholarly outlet.
Papers should preferably involve cross-national comparative analysis; if based on a single country, this should be analyzed within a broader comparative perspective. Comparisons with countries outside the region, particularly with other variants of transitional or emerging market capitalism, are welcome. Papers could deal with the following issues, although innovative work in related relevant areas would be welcome:
· MNCs and the local political economy: trends in FDI and relations with local elites.
· MNCs and political risk management in the region
· In what ways are MNCs are affecting institutional changes in the region?
· Coping and beyond: How have firms in the region dealt with adversity?
· How do MNCs engage powerful external stakeholders, such as religious and ideological
groups, political institutions, powerful political actors and civil society organizations?
· MNCs and the Quasi-States (South Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia).
· MNCs: How are firm practices amended in specific cultural and institutional settings?
· Sunset industries in the region: Beyond redemption?
· Market entry strategies of developed country MNCs compared to emerging country
MNCs in the region.
· Do MNCs use conventional models and methods to enter and operate in these countries,
or do they opt out for new approaches?
· How do MNCs select and manage their partners in the region?
· Mergers and acquisitions: challenges on the periphery of transition
· Supply chains and markets: dealing with new barriers and opportunities.
· MNCs and environmental issues in the region
· Doing business in the region: Ethical issues.
The special issue is open and competitive and submitted papers will undergo the normal rigorous, double-blind review process to ensure relevance and quality. The key criteria for acceptance of manuscripts are (1) relevance to the theme of the special issue, (2) scholarly rigor of analysis, and (3) practical orientation. Submitted papers must be based on original work not under consideration by any other journal or outlet. Reviewers for papers submitted to the Special Issue will be drawn from the Special Issue Editorial Review Board and IBR editorial review board. No submission will be reviewed prior to the closing date.
A guide for authors and other relevant information for submitting papers are available on IBR’s web page (http://www.journals.elsevier.com/international-business-review/)
All submissions should be submitted electronically to http://ees.elsevier.com/ibr/ choosing ‘Transitional Periphery SI’ as the article type.
Submission deadline: 31 December 2013
Prospective authors are urged to contact the guest editors with their initial proposals or ideas well in advance of the deadline for final paper submission.