It is a tribute to INSEAD foresight and innovatory spirit that 2005 marks the 25th birthday of the Euro-Asia and Comparative Research Centre (EACrc). More than a decade before the rest of the world become fully interested in Asian business practice or markets, INSEAD's now AVIVA Chaired Professor of Leadership and Responsibility and Emeritus Professor of Asian Business, Henri-Claude de Bettignies recognised the economic importance of the region and the role it would soon play on the world business stage, and so founded the EACrc.
The Centre, originally operated out of the Fontainebleau campus has naturally and gradually extended to the Singapore campus, culminating in the recent permanent transfer to Singapore of the Euro-Asia Centre library collection of some 30,000+ publications. Director Gordon Redding and core centre members Research Manager, Charlotte Butler and Coordinator, Nathalie Gonord, today lead the EARrc. Added to this is a moving stream of visiting scholars - including during 2004/05:
- Max Boisot, Adjunct Professor, Asian Business and Comparative Management, INSEAD;
- Bor-Shuian Cheng, Professor of Organizational Behaviour, National Taiwan University;
- Jane Dong, PhD, Business School of Shanghai University of Finance and Economics;
- Min-Ping Huang, Assistant Professor, Yuan Ze University, Taiwan;
- Elena Panaritis, Visiting Researcher, INSEAD;
- Jong-Chan Rhee, Associate Professor, Kookmin University College of Social Sciences, Seoul;
- Vladimir Shemiatenkov, Professor of Economics, Russian Academy of Science, Moscow;
- Shigemi Yoneyama, Associate Professor Faculty of Economics, Musashi University, Tokyo.
True to its partnering modus operandi, the EARrc is currently leading or involved in a number of projects across Asia and Europe. Research projects leading to paper, case study and book publication, seminars and teaching are varied, but all speak to the centre's goal of leading comparative business system research in the increasingly globalised business space. At the Centre, research projects with the visiting faculty are currently focusing on Japan, China, Russia, Korea, India and Latin America. And a number of partnerships/agreements are in place, or well on the way to being so:
- EU/Asia Alliance - the creation of a research consortium to link European and Asian business schools. INSEAD's European partners are Erasmus and the Asian partners are the National Economics University Vietnam, Zhejiang University China, Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand, IPMI Indonesia and the Asian Institute of Management Philippines;
- The Lee Foundation Project: with funding from the Singapore Lee Foundation to explore Chinese capitalism, both within and outside of China. Already produced a large number of articles and working papers;
- INSEAD/Wharton Alliance - sponsoring collaborative research on China;
- The Oxford book series - a key centre project to produce a number of heavyweight texts on the world's principal business systems;
- The Palgrave monograph series - An agreement to publish a number of research monographs on the specific aspects of the overall comparative business systems framework under the coordination of Charlotte Butler. Currently four studies are underway: Philippines organisational behaviour by Mari Kondo; The Russian business system by Vladimir Shemiatenkov; the emerging Chinese financial system by Emilio Manso-Salinas; and the structures of property rights and social capital in Latin America by Elena Panaritis.
The INSEAD EACrc research has brought better light and focus to the multiple business systems operating in today's world and no longer is credit given to the one size fits all business model from across the Atlantic. Globalisation means that businesses will need to recognise and understand (and why not learn from?) the business models of the countries they wish to do business with. The EACrc work goes a long way to meeting that need.
As Gordon Redding says, "Success in various industries is not just a matter of getting the organizational components to fit together with the competitive strategy. We are beginning now to see more clearly that it is also a matter of the societal context in which the firm is located. It is no accident that the leading firms in different industries are concentrated in one or two societies in each product field. Each of the world's main business systems leads the world in some form of industry, and the implications of this for research and practice are formidable".