To critically investigate the current state of international business relationship development literature.
2. To explore the characteristics that determines sustainable international business relationships within the Libyan business context-from the Libyan point-of-view.
3. To present a model based on the findings from the two objectives above. This model will serve two main functions: (I). It will help fill in gaps in the current literature relating to the development and maintenance of business relationships with Libya. (II). It will be of practical value to foreign businesses wishing to develop relationships with Libyan companies.
1.4.3 Research Questions
Four research questions are formulated as a means of pursuing the above objectives, these being:
What are the key variables that influence Libyan companies when they internationalise, and why are these variables so important for Libyan organisations?
What are the major steps/stages that Libyans go through when establishing business relationships?
How can foreign organisations establish/maintain sustainable international business relationships with Libya?
1.4.4 Expected Contribution to Knowledge
Libyan companies lack concrete experience of global business relations, in addition to an accompanying absence of research on business relationships development in the Libyan context; both being the result of the economic sanctions and political isolation imposed upon Libya for many years (Alwatan, 2012). Now, with a new political regime and outlook, the time is right to attempt to discover new understandings of the practices employed by Libyan companies, and hence to improve the existing stock of knowledge in this respect. Wallace and Wilkinson (2004) observed that a gap in the knowledge and understanding of the implementation of business relationship development practices exists in various regions of the world, e.g. Africa, Middle East, and South America. This study will contribute towards narrowing that gap. Furthermore, there is a lack of empirical studies relating to business relationships in developing economies (Thiagaragan et al., 2001; Alexander et al., 2002). In seeking to collect data from 17 companies in Libya, this study will try to make a substantial contribution to the literature since it will have strong potential for generalisation, and therefore for strengthening any claims made by it. With such strengths, the results should also be valuable for organisations in Libya that are seeking to internationalise, and hence, there will be a practical contribution as well.
From the review of the literature and the particular influences that are discussed in connection with variables and stages of business relationships, the study will make an original contribution to knowledge through its provision of insight relating to factors that affect business relationships in Libya. In doing so, it will add to the wide body of knowledge about the impact of culture on national business practices. The possible identification of unique cultural factors that influence the variables and stages in the development of business relationships with Libyan companies will also be of interest to other countries sharing similar backgrounds to Libya, and will therefore make a contribution specially to the Arabic countries in Africa literature in general.
1.5 Review of the Chapters
1.5.1 Review of Chapter 2 (Literature Review)
The segment of literature review provides comprehensive analysis regarding the aspects that are pivotal to the development and maintenance of business relationships. This segment initiates with the reasons and causes that determines why business relationship plays an integral part in long-term associations on local and international basis.
Moreover, the social variables in developing and maintaining business relationships that are vital have been discussed in a comprehensive manner, amongst which cultural affinity, trust, commitment, experience, loyalty, satisfaction and social bonds are few of the common and widespread identified variables that have proved to be consequential to the successful business relationships.
Nevertheless, later on, the literature review also highlights the in-depth analysis on the stages in the development of business relationships (that incorporate pre-contact, initial interaction, development and maturity), which are equally important to comprehend with the social variables, as it helps sustain relationships on a long-term basis.
1.5.2 Review of Chapter 3 (Research Methodology)
The section of research methodology provides the research design and methodology that has been used in order to make valuable contribution to existing knowledge on the theme of sustaining the business relationships between Libyan organisations. Since it is a qualitative research, the phenomenological paradigm has been used as the research philosophy.
Moreover, research approach has used the inductive technique, with case study as the appropriate mean of research strategy. However, the interviews (in the semi-structured face-to-face format) have been identified as the data collection technique with the managers, supervisors and other experts from 17 companies in the tourism sector as the participants of the study.
The language has also been considered during the study, with pre-matching strategy for the data analysis. The selection of all these criteria is because it is a social study that needs emphasis on personal perspective and interpretation, as it is essential to come up to fruitful solutions.
1.5.3 Review of Chapter 4 (Research Findings)
The results are based on the semi-structured interview questions with the participants of the study. All the respondents shared similar opinions with respect to the stages that are essential in building a business relationship, which initiates from the searching for a partner.
Politics is noticeably the most important aspect for all the respondents in developing relationships (stage one) and according to them they are able to trust the new partners that have a sense of cultural awareness with commitment, goodwill, job quality and communication. However, effective communication or interaction (sharing, transmitting information and working in collaboration) has been observed as the substantial aspect towards the development (stage two) of the partnership or relationship.
The interviewees have continuously emphasised that trust, cultural awareness, commitment, and quality of job are the most significant aspects that works positively in the third stage and forth stage (that is developing, improving and maintaining the relationships), as it encourage sustainability of the relationships.
1.5.4 Review of Chapter 5 (Research Discussion)
The fragment of research discussion is a deep exchange of words and ideas on the subject matter of exploration of social variables that play an integral role in developing and maintaining business relationships, which is closely linked with the research findings and literature review.
One cannot overlook the fact that building, maintaining and sustaining the business relationships not locally but internationally has become the key driver to the success of the business entity. However, the social variables (that include cultural affinity, trust, commitment, communication experience and satisfaction) are the most common and widespread aspects that facilitates the individuals in developing the relationships. These social variables and their impacts would be discussed in detail that can provide the Libyan companies with the opportunities to maintain healthy relationships over the entire cycle of business.
1.5.5 Review of Chapter 6 (Recommendation & Conclusion)
This is the concluding section of the thesis paper where the researcher has made suggestions for the Libyan companies and enterprises with the solutions on social variables that would facilitate them with the development and maintenance of business relationships on an international platform. The implications of development and maintenance business relationship are purely linked to the deep analysis of the literature review and the survey that was carried out with the Libyan companies. In fact, the researcher has proposed in accordance to the aims and objectives of the study.
Since the business relationship has become the key to the success of the business, thus, the researcher has also highlighted the importance of the social variables such as cultural adaptability, trust, effective communication and so on, that aids the business relationships.
1.5.6 Review of Reference List
The reference list is a synthesis of scholarly articles from journals, online published materials and intellectual books that provide extensive information on the subject of 'Exploration of Social Variables in the Development and Maintenance of Business Relationships with Libyan Companies.'
Chapter 2: Literature Review
2.1 Why the Business Relationship is Important
Relationship is a two-way process, which denotes that it is a give and take process. Relationships are usually based on mutual interest and understanding of both the parties. The business relationships are not established at once, in fact, it is a process that is built gradually over time and has certain prerequisites that need to be followed in order to develop the relationship. This indicates the fact that businesses are not only concerned with gaining monetary benefits, rather, solid business relationships are also an essential element that is considered vital for the success of business.
In all business, relationships are necessary. Indeed, the larger the level of business, the stronger the level of relationship that is required. Consequently, understanding the power of relationships in business is one of the keys to growing business effectively (Kaizen Consulting, 2012). Such relationships are built on confidence on the part of all those involved, and the recognition that professionalism lies at the heart of successful business interactions. However, they do not come naturally, and as observed by Darren (2011), they require some effort to maintain and they must be mutually beneficial, which implies that…