European Business Review

Published by Emerald
Online ISSN: 0955-534X
Publications
Article
Purpose - In response to the need of new knowledge about the international joint venture (IJV), the purpose of this study presents an analysis of the basic characteristics of the IJVs in Bulgaria and the variation of their characteristics depending on the nationality of the foreign partners, coming from three regions: Triad countries (USA, Western Europe and Japan); non-Triad countries; and a mixed region, encompassing combinations of partners from the above two regions. Design/methodology/approach - The advantage of the study is the use of official data from the database, established in cooperation between the author and the National Statistical Institute, on the entire non- homogeneous population of 722 IJVs in the 1989-2003 period. Findings - The generalized results of the study confirm the existence of common trends and trends diverging from those registered in previous studies both on the conventional IJV, set up by foreign and local partners, and on the non-conventional IJV, formed by foreign partners alone. Research limitations/implications - Notwithstanding the generalized results obtained, owing to the coverage of the entire population of IJVs, future studies regarding their characteristics in Bulgaria should have not only structural, but also motivational and outcome variables superimposed. Practical implications - The research can serve for international comparative studies and for the elaboration of national and European Union policies regarding the creation of official databases on the IJVs. Originality/value - With the presentation of new knowledge both on the conventional and on the non-conventional IJVs, the present study extends and supplements the theme regarding the characteristics of the IJVs.
 
Article
Despite attempts to secure harmonisation of accounting practice, significant variations in accounting rules and practice continue to arise in European countries, variations which give rise to compliance costs for multinational companies. Firstly, this paper considers the relevance of international accounting harmonisation for European business. It then proceeds to examine accounting regulation in three countries: Spain, Sweden and Austria, highlighting the key regulatory issues of the 'true and fair' view requirement and the link between taxation and accounting. The three countries are selected because of the interesting contrasts which they provide; these contrasts are examined in detail in the paper. The work is based upon a series of interviews carried out with leading accounting practitioners in the three countries during 1996-97. The paper concludes that there are significant obstacles to accounting harmonisation in Europe and that there is potential for continuing diversity of national accounting practice.
 
Chapter
Die Wettbewerbsfähigkeit eines Landes hängt von der Stärke der einzelnen Unternehmen, der Branchen und den Sozioökonomischen Systemen ab. Wettbewerbsvorteile müssen genutzt werden. Ein logischer, effizienter Prozess zur Entwicklung nationaler Wettbewerbsstrategien im globalen Umfeld wird entwickelt. Herangezogen wird die TOWS Matrix. Anwendungsbeispiel ist die Volksrepublik China.
 
The 'tomahawk' diagram  
Second stage problem for southern government
Trade openness and international tax competition  
Split-the-difference tax harmonisation  
Article
This paper considers tax competition and tax harmonization in the presence of agglomeration forces and falling trade costs. With agglomerative forces operating, industry is not indifferent to location in equilibrium, so perfectly mobile capital becomes a quasi-fixed factor. This suggests that the tax game is something subtler than a race to the bottom. Advanced 'core' nations may act like limit-pricing monopolists toward less advanced 'periphery' countries. Consequently, integration need not lead to falling tax rates, and might well be consistent with the maintenance of large welfare states. "Limit taxing" also means that that simple tax harmonization - adoption of a common tax rate - always harms at least one nation and adoption of a rate between the two unharmonised rates harms both nations. A tax floor set at the lowest equilibrium tax rate leads to a weak Pareto improvement.
 
Article
This paper develops a simultaneous equations model to test the process of interaction between foreign direct investment, exports and economic growth in three Middle Eastern countries: Egypt, Jordan, Oman, and test for any possible feedback effects. Most of the FDI in these countries flows from the EU. The simultaneous equations model results suggest that higher rates of economic growth result in a greater inflow of foreign capital. The regression results also suggest that interest rate differentials exert a much stronger effect than economic growth on the attraction of foreign capital in the case of Egypt. However, this variable does not seem to play a significant role in the case of Oman. Moreover, the simultaneous equations model results suggest that there is a feedback effect in the relationship between economic growth and capital inflow in all sample countries. A greater inflow of foreign capital leads to growth in the exports of good and services. The expansion in exports leads to growth in GNP, which in turn, encourages the attraction of more foreign capital.
 
Article
This paper discusses the question whether the Russian aviation industry has restructured sufficiently to create a position for itself as a supplier of aircraft. It describes the collapse of the market for aeroplanes in Russia which wiped away domestic demand for airplanes and discusses the policies of privatisation and restructuring of the industry. The results are of a mixed nature. On the one hand, a deep restructuring has been avoided only to become more pressing. On the other hand, firms have shown great creativity in surviving and the Putin government pursues a process of further concentration and consolidation.
 
Article
Purpose – This paper analyses the Mohammed cartoons controversy, the boycott of Danish products in the Middle East, and the consequences for the Danish companies involved. Design/methodology/approach – The objectives have been achieved by means of a ideology‐critical discourse analysis of Danish newspaper articles on the subject. Findings – The wider ramifications of an insult and freedom of expression discourse are shown. Managerial consequences of the boycott are outlined for Jyllands‐Posten and Arla Foods. Originality/value – The paper is of value for researchers and managers who want to understand the politicisation of markets and the major consequences for management and marketing strategy.
 
Article
Purpose - To extract the secrets of the marketing of Dan Brown's world-wide bestseller, The Da Vinci Code . Design/methodology/approach - Case study research based on secondary sources and close reading of relevant texts. Findings - The staggering success of The Da Vinci Code is contrary to conventional marketing wisdom, but conventional wisdom is increasingly inappropriate intoday's entertainment economy. Research limitations/implication - Case study research. Needs replication in additional domains. The accepted approaches to best marketing practice need re-evaluation. Originality/value - Approaches topic from unconventional direction. Tries to capture the spirit of Brown's writing.
 
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to elaborate the reason behind a sustainable guanxi network through the introduction of the collaborative strategy in the Taiwanese shoe industry. Design/methodology/approach – Literature review in the area of Chinese business culture, and guanxi network is used to elaborate the information obtained from the company. Findings – This paper highlights that the belief of sincerity and trustworthiness has refined to the organization culture that supports the sustainability of Taiwanese guanxi network. Besides, the transaction cost theory, resource‐based view, and specific relationship investment has become a hinder strategy for Taiwanese organization to maintain the business relationship. This paper introduces an interesting collaborative strategy between three parties, the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) supplier, the machinery manufacturer, and the end‐user (the branding). Although there is no direct business flows between the end‐user and the machinery manufacturer, the specific relationship investment between these two parties are tight and cannot be separated. This has ensured the proper business flows between the OEM supplier and the end‐user as well as the OEM supplier and the machinery manufacturer. Originality/value – This paper illustrates that a guanxi network is not sufficient to ensure a long‐term business relationship to be established. Indeed, the organization culture as well as the consideration on the transaction cost and resources from each party does have a great impact on the collaboration relationship to be successful.
 
Article
Purpose - To familiarize readers with the nature, scope and history of macromarketing and, more specifically, with the European contribution to macromarketing. Design/methodology/approach - The paper is based on a selective literature review and personal observation with a focus on the past, the present and the likely future of macromarketing. Findings - The paper reports both on the limited degree of emphasis placed on macromarketing by marketing scholars and the reasons why macromarketing has not received more attention. Originality/value - This paper provides a heretofore missing overview of the nature and scope of an important subdiscipline within academic marketing. The European contribution to macromarketing is discussed in considerable detail. Some personal views on the likely future development of this area are also offered.
 
Article
States that the usefulness of theory, developed in the United States, in international settings, is of particular interest. The wider the domain to which theory can be applied, the greater its value to the body of knowledge to which it belongs. Examines the applicability of Michael Porter's Three Generic Strategy Typology (1980) in the developing manufacturing nation of Portugal. It was concluded that the typology is an excellent representation of the strategic orientations of manufacturing firms in Portugal. The existence of the strategic options of cost leadership, differentiation and focus were identified, in their pure form, through factor analysis. Regardless of the apparent lack of formal strategic planning processes, Portuguese manufacturing firms appear to be following internally consistent business level strategies.
 
Article
With the coming of the Single Market it is now essential that companies reassess their European manufacturing strategies. Many multinationals currently have fragmented manufacturing operations reflecting past failures to achieve a truly common market. This article discusses how manufacturers in Europe can reorganise themselves to optimise competitiveness.
 
Article
Businesses across the European Community are waiting to capture the advantages presented by a Single Market. Logistics is one of the more fruitful leading-edge areas in which a company can capture significant benefits. The article details how the impact of removing logistical inefficiencies will be felt throughout the manufacturing chain.
 
Article
Describes a field study conducted in Western Europe with top executives and management consultants in the global public accounting and consulting firms as well as top administrators in the Commission of the European Community (EC). Respondents expressed optimism about the 1992 single market programme; they saw a “global village” developing internally in the EC and the need to develop markets and tap technologies in each member of the global “triad” – North America, the EC and Japan. Marketing was considered to be the most important business function to be affected by the single market developments in the EC.
 
Article
All-in-all there are great opportunities for any change which occurs. When changes of this magnitude occur over a reasonable time frame, one can plan and position oneself to take full advantage of the situation, then the possibility of success increases. However, those who fail to recognize the situation and fail to respond, will have only themselves to blame for the eventual success of their competitors and can only hope that these same competitors will allow them to survive in their own evershrinking market.
 
Article
In the run-up to 1992, UK manufacturers should be scrutinising the efficiency of their factory operations as well as their marketing efforts. A great deal of advanced manufacturing technology is available to assist UK manufacturers to improve their methods of production and to enhance product quality. UK management should be examining ways in which they can take advantage of this technology and can be assisted in this technically complex task by taking advantage of independent consultants. The Department of Trade and Industry can offer smaller companies financial assistance wth the costs of consultancy through a range of initiatives. Uptake of these initiatives has been generally encouraging but UK manufacturers appear to be slow to take advantage of the Manufacturing Initiative.
 
Article
The moves to establish a Single European Market focus almost entirely on breaking down structural barriers to trade. Despite all the hype, many take solace that while cultural differences remain strong there will never be a true Single Market. However, it is argued that Europeans (including the British) have more in common than is initially apparent and that the differences are diminishing. The marketer needs to be poised to take the challenge represented by this new society and to exploit the growth in trends such as networking, strategic opportunism and open citizenship.
 
Article
A review of the current situation for the financial services industry throughout the EC but with particular reference to the effect that changes in legislation will have upon British banks, building societies and financial services. In Britain the Financial Services Act and the Building Societies Act have already had the effect of increasing competition and diversifying services. However, the Single Market will present new opportunities requiring strategic planning to meet even more intense competition. In this, the widening of the customer base and of the services provided both in Britain and abroad are important. The moves taken by banks such as Barclays, Midland and NatWest to prepare for 1992 are also discussed.
 
Article
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Article
Highlights a number of developments in Europe that have been important in the evolution of the relationship between the rules for computing profits for tax and accounting purposes. This will assist users in their understanding of European financial reports and will highlight areas where particular caution is required when analysing financial statements over an extended period. Recent changes in the UK are put forward as an alternative to breaking the tax link, and a possible avenue for promoting the harmonization of taxation as well as financial reporting.
 
Article
1992 was the year of the Single European Market. By 31 December 1992, agreement should have been reached on some 286 directives, which aimed to dismantle physical, technical and fiscal barriers to trade. In so doing, it was expected that community businesses would become more integrated, allowing them to compete on more equal terms as Eurobusinesses with the global players of the US and Japan. It was predicted that greater intra-Community competition would be a necessary precursor of this outcome, and that this will lead to industries restructuring through mergers and joint ventures to increase market share and economies of scale by reaching a “minimum efficient size”. Examines the trends in cross-border mergers/acquisitions and joint ventures for the period 1986 to 1989 and concludes that, for both small and large firms, such activity has increased. Further, an analysis of EC material on the subject reveals that firms' reasons for such developments appear to have become more market-oriented over time.
 
Article
Projections are made concerning the nature and focus of merger, acquisition, and alliance activity in the post-1992 environment by both US and European hospitality firms. Recommendations are offered concerning the most viable business strategies facing hospitality organisations in the Internal Market of 1992.
 
Article
Companies that solve the problem of communication in a multilingual environment will be those most likely to succeed, other things being equal, in the new European open market. Some of the ways in which organisations can improve their capabilities in this area are described.
 
Article
Vocational Training in Europe and the effectiveness of the European Social Fund are examined and recommendations made for ensuring that funds allocated to the UK by continental partners in the EC are wisely prioritised in channelling them into the necessary training areas for the unemployed, looking as always to 1992 and the dawn of the Single Market.
 
Research conceptual framework: industry factors influencing the INV internationationalization process  
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this article is to, first, offer insights into the relationship between industry idiosyncrasies and international new ventures (INVs), and then present a research conceptual framework that identifies the role of industry factors in new venture internationalization processes and strategies. Second, the authors introduce the content of this special issue. Design/methodology/approach – This conceptual article builds on extant studies on INVs operating in different industrial contexts. Particular attention is given to the role of industry influences in the processes of new venture internationalization, in terms of speed, geographical scope and entry strategy. Such factors are discussed to formulate a conceptual framework as a basis for further research. Findings – The conceptual framework identifies key industry factors as well as emergent factors that influence the new venture internationalization process, in terms of speed, geographical scope and entry strategy. Such key influencing factors are competition and structure, industry life cycle, industry concentration, knowledge intensity, local cluster internationalization and global industry integration. Emergent factors are identified as new business models, technology and industry network dynamics. Research limitations/implications – This article is conceptual in nature, and thus empirical research is recommended in diverse contexts. Practical implications – Further analysis of industry factors is a valid research avenue for understanding INVs. Originality/value – This special issue offers new insights into how industry factors influence INVs’ internationalization processes in terms of speed, scope and entry strategy.
 
Article
Work undertaken as part of a research project funded under the European STAR Programme is examined. In the course of a major project on Value Added and Data Services (VADS) in the North of Ireland, an extensive study was conducted of similar developments in the Irish Republic. Some of the more important results of this secondary study are used here to assess the likely implications of enhanced infrastructure provision for the demand for advanced telecommunications services.
 
Article
In times of uncertainties scenarios offer a solution. Starting with Royal Dutch Shell by the late 1960s, corporate scenarios are intended to challenge managers’ “personal microcosms” and to reflect the present and the past, before structuring the uncertainties of the future. Therefore, scenarios act as ‘early warning systems’ by focusing on the driving forces that makes a difference to decision-makers.
 
Article
Full-text of this article is not available in this e-prints service. This article was originally published following peer-review in European Business Review, published by and copyright Emerald Group Publishing Ltd. Reviews the development of EU regulation of its airline industry. From a highly regulated regime the EU has slowly moved towards liberalization, culminating in the creation of an open competitive market from 1993. Influenced as much by the US example as by the needs of the single European market, discusses the structural changes likely to take place in the industry in the next few years, and the problems this may present to the Commission in controlling non-competitive practices.
 
Article
A review of the present West Germany from a historical perspective is given. The state of the economy is discussed with particular reference to the economic implications of the forthcoming Single European Market; and the consequences for West Germany and for those countries trading with her. West Germany is considered as being in a strong position already in Europe and ready to exploit the opportunities presented by a Single Market.
 
Article
Purpose – Strategic alliances are often described as risky, dangerous, and instable. When firms adopt these strategies, they are confronted with a relational risk. Nevertheless, little empirical work has been down on relational risk in alliances. For this reason, this research is founded and constructed on two principal questions: what is relational risk? And how is this risk to be managed? Design/methodology/approach – From a methodological point of view, neither one paradigm nor the other concerning previous research was favoured. The process of the empirical research is based on an inductive non-demonstrative step. It was carried out in two phases. Firstly, exploratory research was aimed at complementing previous research and formulating hypotheses. These hypotheses were tested with survey data on 87 partnerships of French biotechnology firms. Findings – The results demonstrate the multidimensional character of relational risk and the duality of relational control. Relational control includes autonomous control and informal control. Research limitations/implications – Nevertheless, this research adopts a static perspective. It is known that alliances evolve, and develop. Consequently, future research should include the interactive process to understand how these two forms of management – autonomous and informal – evolve and in what cases they complement themselves. Practical implications – From a managerial point of view, the results emphasize the need to be aware of existing dynamics between systems of control and relational risk perceptions. Originality/value – This research proposes an empirical study of risk management model in alliance relationships and demonstrates the importance to adopt a multidimensional view of relational risk. oui
 
Article
Purpose – The main aim of this paper is to stimulate more relevant and critical ideas about marketing and the wider management field by exploring the actual and potential contribution of metaphor to marketing theory and practice. The subsequent connections made can help contribute towards understanding and coping with the theory/practice gap. Design/methodology/approach – To date, the majority of metaphor application has tended to be literal and surface‐level rather than theoretically grounded. This paper interrogates the literature surrounding metaphor in marketing and management fields, while also examining the contribution of other areas such as art. The paper constructs and debates the conceptual notion of the marketer as an artist. Findings – Incorporation of theoretically grounded metaphors into marketing theory can help develop a form of marketing which is capable of dealing with ambiguity, chaotic market conditions, creative thinking and practice. Originality/value – Adoption of a metaphorical approach to marketing research helps to instil a critical and creative ethos in the research process. Marketers are concerned with identification and exploitation of opportunities. Metaphor assists in the process by enhancing visualisation of these future directions. We live out our lives to a large degree through the making of metaphorical connections. We should therefore embrace more qualitative, creative associations in marketing theory, as well as practice.
 
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate how ventures manage the negative returns associated with higher levels of internationalization. Many new ventures are internationalizing to fully exploit new innovations and/or gain access to larger markets. Yet at some point the rising costs associated with internationalization outweigh any benefits, resulting in an inverted U-shaped relationship between internationalization and performance. Design/methodology/approach – New ventures are theorized to better manage high levels of internationalization by limiting exposure to other sources of risk. This can be achieved by leveraging greater size and/or limiting simultaneous diversification efforts on product innovation. To test the hypotheses, a regression using Heckman selection was run using a sample of 210 US-based, publicly held ventures in high-technology industries. Findings – The results confirm that when higher levels of internationalization are coupled with either a low emphasis on product innovation or larger size, the negative returns are mitigated and actually become positive. Research limitations/implications – A key implication lies in recognizing the role of risk management for internationalizing ventures. Future research could benefit by testing for generalizability in other countries as well as among privately held ventures. Practical implications – To manage the trade-offs associated at higher levels of internationalization, ventures need to maintain a low emphasis on product innovation or meet a threshold in terms of size. Originality/value – The value of this research lies in better understanding how ventures are able to overcome rising costs at higher levels of internationalization.
 
Article
In this paper, I investigate the choice of debt maturity of the firm for a set of countries of Latin America employing dynamic panel data analysis to a sample of 986 non-financial firms from Latin America and 977 from the United States over a 16-year period. Most empirical work in this subject has focused on developed countries, in particular the United States. Also, it is an opportunity to verify the applicability of some of the theories of maturity structure in a multi-country setting. My main findings are that there is a substantial dynamic component in the determination of a firm's maturity structure, firms face moderate adjustment costs towards its optimal maturity, and the determinants of maturity structure and their effects are similar between Latin American countries and the United States, despite obvious differences in the financial and business environments of these countries.
 
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Article
Purpose – Collaboration among businesses, particularly in the current global economic downturn, can be a key strategy contributing to their survival. This study examines the case of micro firms involved in Terracotta art in Impruneta, Italy, and the extent to which collaboration occurs among the local artisans. In doing so, the study aims to consider collaboration theory in the context of micro firms. Design/methodology/approach – Semi-structured, face-to-face and telephone interviews were conducted among the owners and managers of ten of Impruneta's 16 Terracotta firms. Findings – Whilst much of the academic literature highlights the multiple benefits of collaborative relationships, most participants acknowledge very limited engagement in collaboration. From the comments gathered, two distinct groups emerged, one composed of members of the local Terracotta association, who to some extent collaborate with one another, and the second, the non-members, who pursue their interests individually, or marginally collaborate outside Impruneta. Further, a number of barriers preventing collaboration were identified. Practical implications – The apparent weak collaborative relationships among respondents may have ramifications for the further development of their sector, for instance, restricting innovation and marketing know-how, both of which could help address such external pressures as competition. The involvement of third parties, such as the local town hall or chambers of commerce, was suggested by several participants to help increase collaboration. Originality/value – The study focuses on micro firms, a group that, despite its relevance for many countries' economies, has received limited attention from academic research, including with regard to collaboration and collaboration theory.
 
Article
This article introduces a process that helps companies define and develop their current and future corporate cultures. Working with the top executives within a company, the process enables participants to identify their internal organization’s subcultures as well as the culture of the external business environment. The program identifies the core corporate values that need to be enhanced in order to achieve success in this environment. The program helps participating managers develop action plans to achieve these new corporate values, and company-wide cultural cement programs are implemented throughout the organization to ensure continued business success.
 
Article
The paper discusses how the Commission is shaping a decentralisation policy in the antitrust field. The paper details the procedural architecture - “degrees of priority”, “preconditions for decentralisation” and “Community interest” - which gives the Commission sole discretion to decide whether an antitrust case is dealt with by Brussels or is referred to a Member State. It reveals that the decentralisation procedure has been set up by the Commission, with the blessing of the Community courts, but with little real consultation with the Member States. The paper points out that the decision whether to decentralise turns on a new, qualitative and Commission decided Community interest test. The paper emphasises that the Community interest test runs in parallel with - and has a similar function to - a number of decentralisation provisions which already exist. The final section of the paper contrasts Community interest as a decentralisation test with the rival, and pre-existing, quantitative approach to decentralisation - the Community dimension test - contained in the EC Merger Control Regulation (MCR). It explains that both tests have strengths and weaknesses and that the recent reform of the MCR has not fully addressed these concerns in respect to Community dimension. The paper’s main conclusion is that the Commission’s appropriation of the ability to decide which Member States are competent to deal with decentralised antitrust cases has created the possibility of a fragmented or two-speed Europe in competition regulation.
 
Article
Makes the point that many UK small and medium-sized business are probably misguided in supposing the single European market will not affect them significantly. The DTI provides information but trade associations and professional bodies have a key part to play. Reports on a survey of such bodies and their “readiness” for guiding their members into 1992 by: publishing bulletins, providing advice, setting up a document “bank” and training.
 
Article
Purpose - To examine the enabling legislation of European Union (EU) member country supreme audit institutions (SAIs) for their accountability to parliament and independence from the executive arm of government. Design/methodology/approach - The sample comprises the SAIs of the 25 EU member countries and the European Court of Auditors. Data were collected on 30 accountability and independence issues directly from the enabling legislation of these SAIs. Findings - Results indicate that apart from a number of instances where the enabling legislation is silent, provisions generally provide for adequate independence of the SAIs from the executive arm of government. On the other hand, the provisions for the accountability of the SAIs to parliament are somewhat weaker. Research limitations/implications - If actual practice or convention does not reflect the literal interpretation and application of the enabling legislation, then SAIs may have more or less independence and/or accountability than suggested by the analysis of the legislation alone. Practical implications - Results of this study highlight where current provisions could be further strengthened through appropriate amendments to the enabling legislation. Originality/value - Such findings may be useful to policy makers and legislators.
 
Rankings of Journals Based on Past studies 
Authorship of Articles within Journals Across Regions (Percentages) 
Article
b>Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the global contribution of academics to marketing literature between 1999 and 2003, based on an examination of the location of academics institution of employment, as reported in published works. The data is used to evaluate the global dispersion of publishing. Design/methodology/approach – The paper uses the method of content analysis where the authorship of all articles in 20 leading marketing journals between 1999 and 2003 is examined. An empirical examination of performance was undertaken across geographic regions. There was also an examination of whether the quality of journal affected regional performance. Findings – The research found that there is a significant “bias” of authorship within the 20 journals examined, with the majority of works published by academics at institutions in North America. There is some variation in regional performance based on the type of journal examined. Research limitations/implications – There was no attempt to empirically examine why differences might exist. The study only focused on a sample of 20 English language journals over five years. These journals have been included in studies that list the leading marketing journal for US and European academics. Practical implications – The research suggests that there may in fact be regional differences in publishing behaviour. It is unclear if these differences relate to variations in the “objectives” of institutions within each country or other factors, such as the North American publish-or-perish mentality. The research posits that a marketing knowledge may be unnecessarily restricted, if there is a bias against non-North American perspectives. Originality/value – While there have been other works examining research performance of institutions, there has been limited examination in marketing on the nation in which authors work and none have used a broad cross-section of journals. This work takes a global “snapshot” of national research performance within marketing.<br /
 
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Article
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to raise and critically analyse controversial issues facing the future directions of the academic discipline organisational behaviour (OB). Design/methodology/approach – Specifically, the commercial benefits for basic and applied OB research conducted by academics are considered. Arguments are advanced which cast doubt on the discipline's current directions. Findings – Proponents of traditional research in this field are accused of methodological myopia, inaccessibility, lack of relevance to practitioners and an inability to integrate research with successful practice. Such shortcomings have the potential to render OB theories, research and recommended practices irrelevant in many commercial environments. Practical implications – Better integration is recommended between popularist management practices and ideas with traditional research techniques to produce more business focussed outcomes. New modes of investigation are proposed which adopt dynamic research methodologies based on “coarse grained theorising” using the “3p” test of performance, productivity and profitability. In this context, coarse grained theorising must be capable of verification in the field with tangible commercial benefits. Originality/value – Narrowing the theory-practice gulf requires a more concerted effort to embrace practitioner generated ideas to develop these into theories closely related to organisational concerns rather than purely academic predilections. In this situation, only the most robust of existing theories, with utility for organisations, would survive and continue to be promulgated. A future scenario for OB is envisaged where hybridized theorizing and research are developed and communicated to a wider practitioner audience.
 
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Article
Examines the pioneering work of the European Commission, with the support of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and the European Court of First Instance (ECFI), to apply the merger control of regulation (MCR) to situations of collective as well as to single dominance. Reveals that the Commission first applied the notion of collective dominance in the Nestlé Perrier merger in 1992 but that the legality of this practice was questionable, given that the express wording of the MCR does not mention the notion. The legal challenge arose from the takeover of Mitteldeutsche Kali AG by Kali und Salz with the landmark judgment favouring the stance of the Commission – the MCR does encompass situations of collective dominance. Examines why the court reached this decision, particularly given that the Advocate General’s opinion was exactly the opposite.
 
Article
Purpose - The purpose of this comparative study is to explore how large German and British companies publicly define corporate social responsibility (CSR), as well as why and how the respective notion of CSR was developed. Design/methodology/approach - The study is based on a qualitative content analysis of the CSR web sites of 40 British and German companies, and on a series of interviews with senior managers. Findings - The main findings are that CSR is now presented as a comprehensive business strategy, arising mainly from performance considerations and stakeholder pressure. Companies focus on how they interact with stakeholders and how business activities impact on society. Most CSR policies addressed community, employee and customer issues. Increasingly, "quality of life" topics are emphasised. CSR policies varied with turnover, industry sector and nationality. In developing their notions of CSR, firms emphasized the primacy of reactive pragmatism and experience. Corporate culture also emerged as an influence, with institutionalised CSR functions and communications departments driving initiatives. The study concludes that business and CSR strategy appear to be on a convergent path, making business and CSR integration across the company the norm in future. Research limitations/implications - Owing to the study's exploratory character, the samples are not representative for the British and German economies. Practical implications - The study suggests that especially German companies could benefit more from demonstrating a broad, business-driven understanding of CSR. Originality/value - Contributing to a deeper understanding of notions, rationales and influences, the study provides both science and practice with a more solid foundation for discussing and implementing CSR. It also broadens the perspective by looking at Germany and the UK.
 
Article
In an era of rapid change and uncertainty the ability to anticipate and capitalise on change has become a condition for prosperity and the survival of businesses. A strategic vision is required as a focal point and the challenge for management is to turn this into operational reality. The Big Four Theory views the western world as comprising four large, competitive groups in the not too distant future. The question then is which will be the Big Four? Taking examples from the liquor industry in particular, the possible emergence of the Big Four is catalogued and advice given to managers on how they should react to the challenges ahead.
 
Article
The pursuit of market share and corporate growth in a competitive retail environment is expensive. The pressures of maintaining growth may place a considerable strain upon both human and financial resources, and former stars may fall from grace almost overnight. The rise and fall of Coop AG, Germany's largest consumer co-operative, are examined. In January 1988 Coop AG was the fourth largest retailer in Germany, with group annual sales of around £4 billion. In January 1991 the Coop AG no longer exists -following a financial scandal which culminated in the break-up and takeover of the group by various competitors.
 
Top-cited authors
Marko Sarstedt
  • Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich
Joe Hair
  • Manchester Metropolitan University
Volker Kuppelwieser
  • NEOMA Business School
Christian M. Ringle
  • Technische Universität Hamburg
Jeff Risher
  • Southeastern Oklahoma State University