Linking Theory and Context: ‘Strategy Research in Emerging Economies’ after Wright et al. (2005)


Dean Xu, China Europe International Business School, 699 Hongfeng Road, Pudong, Shanghai 201206, China (


Emerging economies provide a laboratory for investigating the interaction between firm strategies and local contexts. Mike Wright and colleagues have shaped this research agenda by creating legitimacy for this line of research, and by outlining how research in four types of strategy contexts can advance theories. We assess how this agenda has progressed in eight leading journals in the past decade, particularly during the five years following their review, with the aims to identify broad trends of theorizing, and to outline future research challenges. Emerging economy contexts challenge some of the assumptions of theories originally developed for markets that are relatively stable and efficient. Researchers have advanced several theoretical perspectives by addressing these challenges. Wright and colleagues focused on institutional theory as a major foundation for such work, and we find it continuing to be the most popular theoretical perspective. In addition, new perspectives have emerged, focusing on learning, relationships, real options, and spillovers as focal concepts for theorizing.