Political risks as firm-specific (dis)advantages: Evidence on transnational oil firms in Nigeria



The international business literature has recognized that political risk can be firm-specific, but it has so far focused almost exclusively on the national business environment rather than the firm itself. Scholars have still largely confined firms to the role of relatively passive bystanders who, at best, can forecast political risks with some precision or guard against risk (e.g., through insurance). The basic premise of this article, however, is that transnational corporations (TNCs) can be active actors capable of acquiring and upgrading firm-specific resources and capabilities for coping with or even benefiting from political risk. The research is based on the case of the Nigerian oil industry. The research provides evidence to suggest that the same political events can have varying effects on different transnational firms depending on their strategic resources and capabilities, and can benefit specific firms under certain circumstances. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.