"The use of favors by emerging market managers: Facilitator or inhibitor of international expansion?," Asia Pacific Journal of Management


Authors: Puffer, Sheila M.; McCarthy, Daniel J.; Jaeger, Alfred M.; Dunlap, Denise

Publication: Asia Pacific Journal of Management, June 2013


This article explores the use of favors by emerging market managers, the impact of using favors on their firms' growth, legitimacy, and reputation in a variety of business environments, and how the use of favors affects firms' paths to international expansion. We discuss the concept of favors, and to illustrate the process of favors, we look at culturally rooted examples of their use by managers from the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Utilizing neo-institutional theory, we create a typology of four types of environments in which managers and firms from emerging markets conduct business with various relational entities (e.g., governments, customers, suppliers, competitors, alliance partners). We posit that the use of favors by managers compensates for the relatively weak legitimacy of formal institutions in emerging market environments, with favors illustrating the resulting reliance upon informal cultural-cognitive institutions. We develop propositions regarding the impact of the use of favors on the organizational outcomes of growth, legitimacy, and reputation of emerging market firms doing business in each of the four environments. This leads to further propositions regarding how the use of favors can influence their firms' internationalization growth paths. We conclude that the impact of favors on international growth paths results from the fit or non-fit of their use with the level of legitimacy of the formal institutional environment of the focal relational entity in various business transactions.