One hand washes the other : A multiple Case Study about the mystery of blat and how it influences Swedish companies in Russia.
Abstract: The purpose of this thesis is to provide information and a deeper understanding of how the Russian cultural phenomenon blat affects the possibility for Swedish companies to conduct business in the Russian market. In order to conduct this research, relevant aspects of the phenomenon has been demonstrated, identified and analysed in relation to culture, networks and internationalization. This thesis follows a deductive approach, as the research topic is considered rather unexplored. In an attempt to acquire deeper information, a qualitative research method provides deeper understanding how the topic affects Swedish companies. The literature review chapter forms the base of this thesis as it includes theories related to culture, networks, the cultural phenomenon of blat and internationalization. Theories have formed the conceptual framework in an effort to demonstrate connections between theories. The empirical findings have been collected in order to analyse the data in relation to the theories, where the empirics drive from multiple case studies upon Swedish companies. The analysis chapter is structured in accordance with the conceptual framework, where a discussion of the differences and dissimilarities between theories and empirical findings are included. In the following chapter, the conclusion constitutes from theory, empirical findings and analysed data. Moreover, the final chapter consist of implications, recommendations, limitations and suggestions for further research. The main theoretical implications, engage in fill the research gap and addresses blat in an international situation connected to social networks and culture. The main practical implications indicate that the cultural phenomenon blat is not a necessity for Swedish companies when internationalizing to the Russian market although it may facilitate the process. It becomes more important to understand blat as companies increase their market commitment.
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