Emerging Markets and the Future of Business History

52 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2017

See all articles by Gareth Austin

Gareth Austin

University of Cambridge - Faculty of History

Carlos Dávila

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia

Geoffrey Gareth Jones

Harvard University - General Management Unit

Date Written: August 2, 2017

Abstract

This working paper suggests that the business history of emerging markets should be seen as an alternative business history rather than merely adding new settings to explore established core debates. The discipline of business history evolved around the corporate strategies and structures of developed economies. The growing literature on the business history of emerging markets addresses contexts which are different from developed markets. These regions had long eras of foreign domination, extensive state intervention, faced institutional inefficiencies, and experienced extended turbulence. This working paper suggests that this context drove different business responses than in the developed world. Entrepreneurs counted more than managerial hierarchies; immigrants and diaspora were critical sources of entrepreneurship; illegal and informal forms of business was commonplace; diversified business groups rather than the M-form became the major form of large-scale business; corporate strategies to deal with turbulence were essential; and radical corporate social responsibility concepts were pursued by some firms. Today emerging markets such as China, India, Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, and Indonesia are amongst the largest economies in the world. If business history is to remain relevant as a subject, it must transition as a discipline from being heavily focussed on North America, Europe and Japan to fully incorporating the historical experiences of Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Suggested Citation

Austin, Gareth and Dávila, Carlos and Jones, Geoffrey Gareth, Emerging Markets and the Future of Business History (August 2, 2017). Harvard Business School General Management Unit Working Paper No. 18-012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3012606 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3012606

Gareth Austin

University of Cambridge - Faculty of History ( email )

West Road
Cambridge, CB3 9EF
United Kingdom

Carlos Dávila

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia ( email )

Carrera Primera # 18A-12
Bogota, DC D.C. 110311
Colombia

Geoffrey Gareth Jones (Contact Author)

Harvard University - General Management Unit ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States

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