Managing favors in a global economy
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Managers engaged in the global economy continually encounter circumstances in which they wish to ask for or they themselves are approached for a favor to accomplish business objectives. Favors are also important in personal relationships, but the focus of this Special Issue is on their use in business activities, including favors that spill over from a manager’s personal relationships into the business arena. Despite their importance in business, the use of favors has been an understudied phenomenon in the field of management and international business. Favors span a number of issues such as corporate growth strategies, foreign direct investment, joint ventures and other alliances, multinational headquarters-subsidiary relations, knowledge transfer, human resources management, and business ethics. Thus, this Special Issue contributes to the development of this nascent field in those arenas, although we realize that the topic has been a prominent one for decades in other fields, particularly anthropology (Malinowsky, 1922; Mauss, 1990/1950), sociology (Blau, 1964; Burt, 1992; Homans, 1958; Scott, 2008), and economics (North, 1990; Polanyi, 1957). Additionally some management authors have addressed the topic of favors either directly (Flynn, 2003), or by discussing practices that would be considered favors. Examples would be work on guanxi in China (Luo, 2007), blat/sviazi in Russia (Ledeneva, 1998, 2006), jeito in Brazil (Amado & Brasil, 1991), and favors in India (Schuster, 2006), as well as the use of favors in all the BRIC countries (Puffer, McCarthy, Jaeger, & Dunlap, 2013).
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