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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Mzamo Mangaliso

Second Advisor

Emily Heaphy

Third Advisor

Scott Monroe

Fourth Advisor

Whitney Battle Baptiste

Subject Categories

Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations | International Business | Strategic Management Policy


Historically, members of the African Diaspora have endured the brunt of slavery, colonization, economic challenges, and corruption which was imposed on them by their colonial rulers. As a proud descendant of these original, indigenous African groups of people, I embarked on this dissertation to explore the role of the managerial perceptions and indigenous philosophies held by this focal group on their ultimate organizational strategy.

Strategic management research has established that organizations with valuable resources and relevant competencies, as well as those which are dynamically capable, will perform better than firms that do not have these capabilities (Barney, 1991; Teece, 1997, 2007). However, in some smaller, developing economies, these organizations also deal with corrupt governments, poverty, and the lingering effects of colonialism in their environments. Additionally, conducting business in these countries varies due to institutional differences and indigenous philosophies such as Ubuntu and Lakou that direct human behavior. Institutional and agency theories are the dominant perspectives to explain corruption, yet both fall short of accurately capturing firm behavior in the contexts of these countries. More theoretical development is needed to understand how firms can compete and grow in these challenging environments, particularly due to the behavioral nature of managers (Cuervo-Cazurra, 2016).

This dissertation explores the relationships between dynamic capabilities, firm culture, and the strategies they choose to navigate corruption in developing economies. The aforementioned constructs are largely grounded in Western theories, and thus their assumptions were tested through novel hypotheses in these rich contexts. The two overarching research questions were: If corruption is rampant in the external environment, then how can firms overcome these challenges to create a competitive advantage? In post-colonial emerging markets, how do managers make meaning of corruption? Theory was built and tested through a mixed methods approach with semi-structured interviews, archival data, and quantitative surveys within Haitian and South African contexts.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.