Political strategy and the growth of business groups


  • Marina Amado Bahia Gama Fundação Getulio Vargas
  • Rodrigo Bandeira-de-Mello Girard School of Business; Merrimack College
  • Juliano Danilo Spuldaro Universidade do Oeste de Santa Catarina




Business groups, Political strategy, Diversification


How do companies and government interactions affect business groups’ decisions on growth? So far, empirical evidence is based on qualitative data that do not explain how political strategies affect the expansion or diversification of business groups. Our main contribution is to discuss the conditions that affect their growth. To do this, we conducted an in-depth field study in six business groups, and examined 17 growth decisions. Four categories (origin of growth, historical relationships, business group's scope and use of specific political strategies) emerged from the analysis, based on interviews with managers and on 480 secondary data sources. We further applied the qualitative comparative method to test our categories as conditions for growth. We found that a historical relationship between the group and the government is a necessary but insufficient condition for growth through diversification. To foresee diversification, historical relationship must be aligned with government's political interest, or with the use of one or a combination of specific political tactics. We found no set of variables that can fully explain growth through expansion.


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