Cleaning House Before Hosting New Guests: A Political Path Dependence Model of Political Connection Adaptation in the Aftermath of Anticorruption Shocks
Strategic Management Journal, Forthcoming
45 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2021
Date Written: May 25, 2021
We develop a political path dependence model that integrates the network embeddedness perspective and the literature on corporate political strategy to understand how firms adapt their political connections when anticorruption efforts lead to the turnover of government officials. We posit that although firms that have close associations with ousted corrupt officials can benefit from both removing existing political connections (“cleaning house”) and developing new connections with their successors (“hosting new guests”), political path dependence enables firms to do the former but constrains them from doing the latter. These effects are magnified when firms are highly dependent on the government, and when the ousted corrupt officials have great political power. Evidence from anticorruption campaigns in China between 2012 and 2018 lends support for our theoretical predictions.
Keywords: political connection, path dependence, network embeddedness, China
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