Adaptation or Expiration in Family Firms

Adaptation or Expiration in Family Firms

Organizational Flexibility in Emerging Economies

Andrés Hatum

Andrés Hatum explores determinants of organizational flexibility in this examination of four family-owned companies, two flexible and two less flexible, from the edible oil and pharmaceutical industries. By means of an innovative analysis – including longitudinal analysis, coding analysis, statistical analysis and the use of original display charts – he illustrates the determinants of flexibility and sheds light on the process of transformation and adaptation of family firms, an area that has not yet been the subject of extensive empirical inquiry.

Chapter 3: Argentinian Business Environment

Andrés Hatum

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, family business, organisational behaviour


INTRODUCTION Studies of organization have often omitted the importance of national differences as shapers of the organizational action of firms (Whittington and Mayer, 2000; Pettigrew et al., 2001). Clark (2000: 8) argues that this may have happened due to the fact that many organizational theorists are located in the USA and therefore tend to consider the context of their findings (that is the American context) as ‘an undiscussed background’ and consequently universalize them. National and regional specificities are, however, becoming increasingly acknowledged as factors affecting the ways in which firms in emerging economies respond to competitive pressures (Pettigrew et al., 2001; Hoskisson et al., 2000). As this chapter demonstrates, particular features of the Argentinian business environment has a deep impact on the character and transformation of indigenous firms over time. Argentina, the country on which this analysis focuses, has been considered a newly industrialized country (Helleiner, 1990), a developing country (Lal, 1975), an emergent country (Contractor, 1998) or a less developed country (Kirkpatrick, 1987; Buckley and Casson, 1985). We consider Argentina to be an emergent country. Hoskisson et al. (2000) indicate that an emerging market economy can be defined as one that satisfies two main criteria: a rapid pace of economic development and government policies favouring economic liberalisation. The term ‘emerging country’, for Zahra et al. (2000) and Ramamurti (2000), also presupposes economic, social, institutional and political instability compared to economically developed countries. But what are the particular national features that distinguish the Argentinian national...

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