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The establishment, operation and subsequent closure of the Bougainville Copper Mine : a case study in international management


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Tonks, GR 2001 , 'The establishment, operation and subsequent closure of the Bougainville Copper Mine : a case study in international management', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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As the scope and importance of the global economy expands, the international
business arena presents continuous challenges in the governance of multinational
enterprises (MNEs). Chief among these challenges is the management
of the turbulent milieu in which world commerce is conducted and, as a result,
academic inquiry into the environmental dimensions of international management
has increased. The focus of this academic attention however, has been
primarily concerned with MNEs from developed countries (DCs) which
establish operations in other industrialised economies. In relative terms, there
has been insufficient research into DC based organisations involved in less
developed countries (LDCs). This dearth of inquiry is particularly evident in the
rapidly expanding island economies of the South-west Pacific.
Accordingly, the aim of this thesis is to extend current understanding of
international management in the volatile and diverse context of LDCs. To this
end, the management of Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL), an Australian
mining company which operated in Papua New Guinea's North Solomons
Province, was investigated. Using a single case study approach, inductive and
deductive processes were applied in order to comprehend the reality of BCL's
complex relationship with its host country and host society. Extant literature
formed the conceptual framework of the study, from which the central and
subordinate research questions were framed. Primary data were gathered from
interviews with past executives of BCL, with secondary material assembled
from company documents, published histories, news articles, PNG and
Australian government reports and prior studies of Bougainville. A broad
verification process was instituted to ensure the rigour of the data and the
interpretive process which followed.
The research findings support claims in the literature that corporate performance
is dependent upon the close alignment of elements within the internal and
external environments of MNEs. However, it was determined that alignment
becomes increasingly difficult as the business climate in the host setting
deviates from that in the home country, and MNE activities cannot be sustained
under extremely divergent home-host conditions despite management's efforts
to control external and organisation-specific variables. It was further established
that MNE management should focus environmental congruency on the host ·
society, rather than on the host country as suggested in the literature. Evidence
from the research reveals that the immediate population is the most influential contextual factor for MNEs, particularly in LDCs of the South-west Pacific
which are typified by ethnic identity and local attachments which take
precedence over the abstract notion of nationhood.
The outcomes of this thesis present a range of implications concerning the
management of MNEs in LDCs in terms of policy development, management
practice and theory development, as well as suggesting possibilities for further
research in the subject field.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Tonks, GR
Keywords: Bougainville Copper Pty Limited, Bougainville Crisis, Papua New Guinea, 1988-, Copper mines and mining, International business enterprises, Industries
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2001 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (PhD)--University of Tasmania, 2001. Includes bibliographical references

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