Academic journal article Academy of Strategic Management Journal

Differences in European and Tunisian Perceptions of the Investment Decision

Academic journal article Academy of Strategic Management Journal

Differences in European and Tunisian Perceptions of the Investment Decision

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

In terms of international relations, technology and the development of the means of communication have brought people together by shortening distances and multiplying opportunities for contact. Globalization has played its part in increasing interactions with not only economic exchanges but also investment and enterprise creation (Blanchot, 1995; Garette & Blanc, 1993). In this spirit, Tunisian legislation on foreign investment has particularly favored these interactions and has focused on creating a favorable climate for foreign investors, encouraging them to cooperate with a local partner in the framework of a joint venture company.

By pooling, combining or exchanging resources, partners in an international joint venture can gain advantages that they would not be able to claim individually (Geringer & Hebert, 1991; Harrigan, 1988; Hennart, 1988; Killing, 1988).

Very briefly, in the joint ventures between Tunisians and Westerners, the Western partner generally seeks to take advantage of the network of business relations in place of his Tunisian partner, to acquire the intelligence of the local environment and access to raw materials, labor and markets. While the Tunisian company aims to appropriate the industrial know-how and technologies of its ally and more broadly, his managerial skills.

This article is in a global context of a research which aims to identify the understanding of the management processes from a cross-cultural perspective, to check if the representation of the operation of the company between partners of different nationalities differed between foreigners and Tunisians and to understand the European and Tunisian perceptions of the investment decision.

This research is being driven by the establishment, increasingly important, in Tunisia, of companies in international joint ventures.

We therefore hypothesize that perceptions of managers change according to nationality and that national cultural variables determine a particular understanding of the principles that would otherwise seem universal. Differences between nationalities lead to differences in the perception of managers regarding issues related to management issues, as is the case with the investment decision of particular interest to us.

Available studies show that combinations involving actors of different nationalities are particularly difficult to manage. Differences are due to the national culture of the actors (Barmeyer & Mayrhofer, 2002; Frank 2000; Mayrhofer, 2003; Tayeb, 2001).

This idea is supported in a study on international joint ventures in Great Britain by Glaister & Buckley (1999), who add that these differences may even be beneficial for the success of the Joint Venture by fostering learning flows between both partners, enabling them to gain a competitive advantage over their foreign counterparts.

This learning allows them to reduce their uncertainty and avoid missing opportunities.

After a deciphering of the intercultural problem within the scope of the International Joint Venture (JVI), we will try to demonstrate the determinants of the investment decision for actors of different nationalities, To establish a link between these and the understanding and perception that Tunisian and Western managers and executives have of these elements.

CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK

The Problem of the Impact of Culture on the Functioning of the JVI

The Nature of Culture

Culture, a central element in social life and human actions, is a complex, multifaceted and fleeting concept. One of the most ingenious and relevant definitions that has been proposed is that of Edouard Herriot: "Culture is all that remains when we have forgotten everything".

This apparently paradoxical definition expresses one of the most important characteristics of culture; Before being a content, it is a way of thinking and being. Moreover, the individual is relatively unaware of this reality and its effects. …

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