Portfolios of Political Ties and Business Group Strategy in Emerging Economies: Evidence from Taiwan
Administrative Science Quarterly, Forthcoming
68 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2014
Date Written: February 8, 2014
This study examines how political ties with rival political parties can affect a firm’s strategic decisions. Focusing on a firm’s portfolio of ties in addition to dyadic ties, we offer a novel contingency model that specifies how the influence of political ties on strategy varies across different forms of government in democratic emerging economies. We propose that when political parties differ substantially in competitive status (i.e., under united government), a diverse portfolio could induce the dominant political party to use punitive tactics toward the focal firm and make it difficult to achieve strategic goals. However, when political parties have a similar competitive status (i.e., under divided government), a diverse portfolio could benefit the firm by producing tertius gaudens advantages and political flexibility. Such a portfolio effect of political ties tends to be mitigated by the firm’s internal resources and capabilities. An investigation of how the political ties maintained by Taiwanese business groups affected unrelated diversification from 1998 through 2006 offers an initial attempt to reveal the role of ties to competing political parties in shaping firm strategy and highlights the trade-offs that politically connected firms confront when they exploit opportunities and mitigate risks arising from underdeveloped political and market institutions.
Keywords: portfolios of political ties, political parties, unrelated diversification, democratic emerging economies
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