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Seize the state, seize the day? business-government relations in a transition economy

Authors Qian, Cuili
Issue Date 2010
Summary This dissertation advances the corporate political strategy literature by demonstrating the effectiveness of corporate political strategy on firm-level outcomes. In this dissertation, I investigate how corporate political activities, defined as corporate attempts to shape government policy in ways favorable to the firm (Hillman, Keim, & Schuler, 2004), help firms achieve better financial performance. The dissertation examines this question at two levels: 1) at the top management level, how CEO political connections would affect corporate financial performance; and 2) at the firm level, how corporate political activity would influence corporate financial performance. The dissertation further introduces a set of contingent factors, affecting the mechanisms of how corporate political activity would result in better corporate financial performance. I address these issues in two separate studies in a transition economy and apply the empirical context of Chinese firms listed on the Shenzhen and Shanghai Stock Exchanges during the period of 1999-2009 to test my propositions, which provides an opportunity to deep contextualize the corporate political literature into Chinese context (Tsui, 2007). Study one examines the relationship between CEO political connections and corporate financial performance. Drawing on previous research on political connections and resource-based view, I developed arguments that connections with the government could bring firms different types of resources (policies and regulations, material resources such as bank loan, and information), which would in turn positively affect firm financial performance. In addition, the value of these resources depends on the extent to which it is unique, and un-substitutable to the firm. Managerial expertise, differentiation and internationalization strategies, and institutional development were found to affect the positive relationship between CEO political connections and firm performance. Moreover, the types and levels of political connections could also have different performance implications, which again demonstrates the contingent nature of political connections. Study two, as an extension of the first study, investigates the relationship between corporate political activity and corporate financial performance. From the resource dependence perspective, I illustrate that corporate political activity can confer benefits to firms by enabling them to gain resources in market arena and to decrease risk associated with weak institutions. Moreover, those firms that lack political resources are more likely to benefit from corporate political activity; and those firms that are exposed to institutional risk would benefit more from corporate political activity. Key Words: political connections, corporate political activities, transition economy, corporate financial performance
Note Thesis (Ph.D.)--Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 2010
Language English
Format Thesis
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