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By Karen Herland
International development requires financial resources leading to great potential for culture clashes.
Last month, the Montreal Local-Global Research Group (MLGRG) hosted its first conference. The goal was to bring researchers and corporate executives together to compare notes and consider the question from different perspectives. It was also the first major event to be held in the glossy new MB Building, which will be formally opened later this month.
The MLGRG was founded five years ago by JMSB Management professors Rick Molz and Mehdi Farashahi, with Taieb Hafsi from HEC, to examine the challenges related to local/global dynamics. Claude Marcotte, of the JMSB management department, joined his colleagues soon after the group formed.
The MLGRG has expanded to include researchers from more than seven universities and graduate students from all four universities in Montreal.
“People often research developing countries without taking into account the tensions between local populations and corporations,” said PhD candidate Catalin Ratiu of the group he has participated in for some time now.
Over 60 registrants gathered to hear two academics and four multinational executives on the theme Multinational Corporations in Developing and Emerging Economies: Local-global dynamics and organizational adaptation.
“This event was the first of its kind to create an effective bridge between practitioners and researchers,” said Farashahi. “These kinds of events help researchers to direct their research activities toward the actual needs of multinational corporations in developing and emerging economies and obviously help executives to better understand and implement the most effective and available frameworks tested by researchers in their decision making processes.”
Until now, the MLGRG has hosted special sessions or events within the context of larger international conferences such as the Academy of Management. Ratiu thinks the success of this inaugural event was in part due to the LGRG itself. “One of the strengths of the group is that it represents a good mix of developing and developed countries. We have researchers representing Egypt, Tunisia, Iran, Morocco, Russia, Brazil, China and Romania, among others.”
The conference attracted academics, students, executives and EMBA alumni. Ratiu characterized the “blend of academics and decision-makers in emerging economies” as positive.
The conference was discussion-focused “we planned for three hours of discussion time throughout the day” which allowed those on the ground to feed, and in some cases challenge, research theses.
Farashahi sees this kind of interaction between researchers and practitioners as necessary in the context of business schools, The MLGRG is already thinking about future events.