Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS)
Department of Graduate School of Management
Selected Highlights from Research Findings
Foreign direct investment (FDI) from less to more developed countries has recently often been in the news. In South Africa, the expansion of Anglo-American, Old Mutual and SABMiller all made headlines. Globally, the Chinese acquisition of Lenovo, the attempt by a Dubai-based company to operate US ports, and the expansion of the Indian Tata group all bear witness to the same phenomenon. The researcher explores this phenomenon in an article published in the International Journal of Technology and Globalisation. Her research reveals an interesting paradox: Although there has been a clear increase in the number of high profile mergers and acquisitions (worth US$ 1 billion or more) where firms from developing countries acquire firms from the developed world, the relative growth of FDI from the developing to the developed world has not changed much. It seems that only the largest, best resourced firms from emerging markets are capable enough to function in the highly competitive developed world. Moreover, those firms tend to be in mature industries like food and beverages or mining. A different picture emerges when looking at investment into other developing countries. Not only has there been a clear and sustained increase in the number of developing country firms investing in other developing countries, but the dominant industries are knowledge-intensive service industries – industries like banking, telecommunications, and IT. South Africans need only think of the forays of Standard Bank and MTN into the rest of Africa, but the pattern holds also in Asia and Latin America. Firms seem better able to manage the complex internationalisation process in economies that are closer and somewhat less competitive. In other words, the developing world acts as an important incubator environment for emerging multinational corporations. This research has important implications in a country like South Africa, where managers still tend to look to the developed world as their ideal business destination. The lucrative markets of the developed world have their appeal, but there are significant benefits also to be realised from investing in other developing countries.
Contact person: Dr H Barnard.
The aim of this project was to investigate the status of the use of information and communication technology in African business schools. This research helps to further an understanding of the use of ICT in the organisations that responded to the survey. Overall, there was a high level of understanding or applicability (over 95%) among the topics surveyed across all schools, but there was a significant proportion where no action on that topic had yet been taken (over 30% of all maturity ratings across all respondents). Average maturity rating across all topics for all respondents was 2.3 (action taken but an informal approach to the topic is currently used) on a scale from 0 to 5.
This research has important implications for the organisations responding to the survey and their awareness of the issues they face as institutions who seek to leverage their investments in ICT to raise their own competitive position and thus that of African organisations which have students educated at these business schools. There are also implications for the future success of the newly-formed AABS and its other initiatives in terms of meeting the objectives of the Association.
This research provides a broad understanding of the extent to which ICT is available and in use amongst the members of the AABS. Prior to the foundation of the Association, no suitable forum existed for the conduct of this research. The value to both those respondents to the survey, other members of the AABS and other business schools operating in Africa who wish to understand the issues in the field of ICT which they should be addressing.
Contact person: Mr PKJ Tobin.