Purpose– This paper aims to analyze Brazil’s governmental positions during two international conflicts involving major Brazilian firms and two South American countries: the nationalization of Petrobras in Bolivia in 2006 and the expulsion of Odebrecht from Ecuador in 2008. Brazil’s government officials showed themselves to be not only open to negotiations but also understanding and cooperative with Bolivia. The same policymakers, however, showed no trace of this accommodating behavior toward Ecuador. This paper focuses on the explanatory power of the ideas of the ruling Workers’ Party and sustains that this party has played a crucial role on shaping the current government–business relations in Brazil. Design/methodology/approach– This research applies process tracing analysis within two case studies; and content analysis to operationalize the concept “Workers’ Party’s ideas” using 14 Workers’ Party’s official documents. It investigates the circumstances under which political ideas guide policymaking. Findings– This work found a correlation between Workers’ Party’s ideas and Brazil’s governmental positions which first benefited Bolivian demands. On the other hand, these ideas found no representation during negotiations with Ecuador. To explain this variation, this study tested the link between uncertainty and influence of ideas. Uncertainty was both an “activating condition”, allowing ideas to come into play in policymaking, and a “magnifying condition” showing the dynamic relationship between the level of uncertainty and the level of influence of ideas. Originality/value– This study contributes to the evolving debate on business and government relations in Brazil by focusing on the role of ideas and interests on policymaking.
critical perspectives on international business – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 30, 2014
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