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Apesar do aumento do interesse pela globalização digital, suas dimensões sociais receberam muito menos atenção do que merecem. A falta de diálogo entre as duas proeminentes áreas de pesquisa em IB, digitalização e responsabilidade social corporativa, apresenta uma oportunidade valiosa para estender a agenda que Ioannou e Serafeim (2012) introduziram uma década antes. Descrevemos brevemente as diferenças organizacionais entre empresas multinacionais (MNEs) e plataformas multinacionais (MNPs), seguidas de um olhar mais atento sobre como a responsabilidade social de plataformas digitais pode se afastar do nosso entendimento convencional derivado de MNEs. Em seguida propomos a noção de responsabilidade social ecossistêmica enfatizando a cocriação de valor social antes de categorizar as principais áreas de questões sociais específicas de MNPs. Baseados nessas ideias, derivamos vários novos insights sobre os desafios sociais enfrentados pelas empresas que governam plataformas globais versus plataformas multidomésticas, respectivamente, ao atender mercados internacionais. Por fim, discutimos futuras direções de pesquisa e, particularmente, as implicações para a sustentabilidade ecossistêmica.
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Global platforms represent those that primarily utilize the pool of globally-sourced complementary products in penetrating host-country markets (Brouthers, Geisser, & Rothlauf, 2016; Chen et al., 2019). This category to some extent resembles service exporting, in that the MNP can reach host-country users without committing a discrete market entry event. Nevertheless, unlike exporting where internationalizing firms proactively explore foreign business opportunities, host-country users on a global platform value, and are therefore drawn to, the opportunities to interact and transact with foreign complementors offering tangible or information goods. That allows global platforms to achieve a high degree of internationalization in a short period of time, in terms of the number and variety of host countries served, as well as a high level of interconnectedness between ecosystem participants from different countries.
As our informed conjectures provide a starting point illuminating social dimensions of digital globalization, they open up numerous avenues for future research in bridging the gap between digitalization and CSR (see Table 4). In respect of ecosystem social impact, a promising lead is to unveil the specific governance rules and technical designs that global platforms deploy in establishing and enforcing ecosystem-wide social norms (Asmussen & Fosfuri, 2019). The underlying mechanism may still revolve around the governance dimensions of incentive and control (Chen, Tong, et al., 2022), yet the goal of governance could well depart from the case of global supply chain governance which centers on the maximization of comparative efficiency (Strange & Humphrey, 2018). While maintaining a globally integrated social standard, global platforms are likely to confront idiosyncratic expectations from host-country ecosystem participants which may incur additional cost to fulfill. Prior CSR research has paid much attention to the balance between integration and responsiveness for MNEs (Durand & Jacqueminet, 2015) and the cost implications (McWilliams & Siegel, 2001). Whether our received wisdom applies to global platforms which orchestrate a network of stakeholders characterized by tremendous levels of institutional diversity remains to be investigated. Conversely, for multidomestic platforms, it is conceivable that some will continue to emphasize the social benefit their disruptive business model confers on local stakeholders (Aversa et al., 2021), while seeking to downplay the social cost incurred. A key question to be explored is how exactly the institutional environment of a host country influences the perceived social impact that the platform imposes on local ecosystem participants. Furthermore, we encourage future research to extend and contextualize ecosystem social impact in the asymmetric relationship between focal MNEs and startup partners (Buckley & Prashantham, 2016), which appears of particular relevance to fulfilling the sustainable development goals (Prashantham & Birkinshaw, 2020) and to the diffusion of digital sustainability practices (George, Merrill, & Schillebeeckx, 2021).
Extant CSR research has made numerous cases for why firms engage in pro-social actions and provides various explanations for the observed or assumed relationship between CSR and financial performance. Implicit in this research is a premise that CSR is conducive to the sustained advantage of a business and should be seen as an investment. On the other hand, platform research has paid extensive, if not exclusive, attention to the sustainability of a platform business from the perspective of economic value creation (Rietveld & Schilling, 2021). Consensus emerges that platform businesses can remain prosperous once network effects set in and stay strong. Piecing these received views together, one might wonder why platforms would commit to ESR when the economic value of the platform ecosystem is never reinforced by a positive feedback loop. The lack of social responsibility, as seen among the leading MNPs of our time, may not be a coincidence after all. 041b061a72