A Critical Research Handbook
Edited by Lester Lloyd-Reason and Leigh Sear
Chapter 3: Traditional and Emergent Forms of Global Trading
Leo Paul Dana, Hamid Etemad and Richard Wright Introduction Traditional approaches to internationalisation focused on a uni-polar and hierarchical distribution of power and control. In this chapter, we discuss an alternate approach to globalisation – an approach that involves a multi-polar distribution of power and control. Rather than focusing on the internationalisation of a centralised ﬁrm with a uni-polar distribution of power and control, we suggest that the world is moving toward multi-polar networks of ﬁrms. As corporations outsource to smaller specialised ﬁrms, power and control are becoming increasingly divided among independent SMEs that co-operate voluntarily for increased eﬃciency and proﬁt. Symbiotic marketing relationships are thus leading to multipolarity. We are hence moving beyond a focus on the ﬁrm toward a focus on relationships with multi-polar networks. This is giving unprecedented opportunities to SMEs in the global economy. In this chapter, we put emphasis on local and cultural embeddedness. We shall show that this is important when attempting to understand either virtual clusters of the New Economy, or personal clusters of the bazaar. In the words of McMillan, ‘On the internet, just as in the bazaar, the methods of exchange are shaped by information and costs of getting it’ (2002, p. 47). Perhaps the future can best be understood by taking a look at the past. In this chapter, we shall examine the multi-polar networks of interdependent SMEs in the traditional bazaar, as well as the emerging relationships and multi-polarity of the New Economy. Similarities prove to be intriguing....
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