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Title: Influences of context and culture on Singaporean strategic investment decision making practises
Author: Soh, Li Khee Christine
ISNI:       0000 0004 5920 9896
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis investigates the interplay of context with culture on strategic investment decision (SID) making practises in strategic management accounting, strategic management, cross cultural management and global strategic management research in Singapore using three research questions. These research questions commence from an inter-country perspective on SID making and narrow down to the theme of foreign versus domestic investments. The three research questions are: Research question 1(RQ1): Do strategic management accounting, strategic management and cultural aspects vary across Singaporean companies in SID making? Research Question 2 (RQ 2): Can SID differences be explained by using a four way categorisation of firms? Research Question 3 (RQ3): Do decision making practises for international SIDs differ from domestic SIDs? The first research question aims to determine country versus context specific SID making practises using Singapore as the research context. Having acknowledged unique country specific influences on SID making practises in the analysis conducted using the first research question, the second research question segments the Singaporean SIDs in conjunction with the international SIDs into four contextual categories using unique contextual differences that are highlighted in the analysis. The third research question aims to ascertain unique aspects of SID research that can be applied to global strategic management research. To address RQ3, the findings from RQ1 and RQ2 are consolidated in tandem with global strategic management research in order to distinguish between foreign direct investments versus domestic investments in SID making. Drawing on Singapore as the empirical focus for fieldwork, a multi-tiered case analysis system is used. The methods chapter illustrates the pilot study and thirty case studies that are conducted over two years over three stages with representative companies from the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors. In the detailed case study approach taken by the researcher; web-based research, questionnaire modifications, interviews, field visits, factory observations and financial reports collection are duplicated in Stages one to three to ensure comparability with the previous phases. In the discussion section, the dominating themes from the results chapters are used as comparison with multi-country research in order to investigate the three research questions in detail. In total, nineteen expectations that are derived from the literature review covering the dimensions of strategic management accounting, strategic management, cross cultural management and global strategic management are extracted and compared with actual SID making practises exhibited in the 30 case studies. Cultural similarities within the thirty Singaporean SIDs are contrasted with unique cultural features of U.S, U.K, Japanese and German firms using RQ1. Beyond financial variables, culture specific differences are specifically highlighted for the dimensions of intuition, power distance relationships, long term orientation and minimum financial versus strategic emphasis in the Singaporean sample. In RQ1’s analysis, it is found that Singaporean firms exhibit the highest degree of future orientated behaviour, power distance relationships in conjunction with lower levels of assertiveness and in-group collectivism when contrasted with U.K, U.S, Japanese and German firms. However, some contextual differences are apparent within the Singaporean sample which RQ2 seeks to explain. In RQ2’s analysis, the thirty firms are structured into Market Creators, Value Creators, Refocusers and Restructurers where marked distinctions in financial flexibility, financial expectations and attitude towards financial targets are found. Further observations found that firms in the tertiary sector favour readiness in SID making, as compared to planned SID making approaches in the secondary and primary sectors. Hence, it is concluded that culture and context both play important roles in different aspects in SID making. RQ3’s analysis aims to show subtle distinctions between overseas and domestic SIDs. It is found that firms investing in overseas SIDs are inclined to be longer-term in their SID making approach than firms who have a higher propensity to invest in domestic SIDs. The approaches for host country selection differ for the 4 contextual categories. The Market Creators tend to be influenced by the availability of closeknitted partners when investing overseas. In contrast, the Refocusers and Restructurers are highly customer-driven whereas the Value Creators are attracted by the host country’s market potential. From the literature summary of the four unique dimensions pertinent to SID making, a pre-conceptual framework is derived. In the discussion section, the pre-conceptual framework is restructured into a post-conceptual framework where themes common to the Singaporean and multi-country SIDs that have been used for comparative analysis are emphasised. This framework concludes the thesis by combining both contextual and cultural themes using research from the eastern and western contexts.
Supervisor: Carr, Chris ; Mitchell, Falconer Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: strategic investment decision ; context ; culture