Sainsbury's in Egypt: The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde?

  • El-Amir A
  • Burt S
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Abstract

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is first, to explore the role of institutional theory constructs in a case of international retail divestment. Second, to examine the potential of constructed metaphors as a means of analyzing and communicating the findings of managerial research. Design/methodology/approach - The data were generated from participant observations and interactions with stakeholder groups during a three-month ethnographic study based in a Sainsbury store in Egypt. Data were analysed and presented via a constructed metaphor - namely Robert Louis Stevenson's story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Findings - The case illustrated an apparent paradox between Sainsbury's technical superiority as a retail operator in the Egyptian market, and its social inferiority in its interactions with a variety of stakeholders, primarily customers and employees. The use of the metaphor to organize, analyse and present the findings proves to be a fruitful way to illustrate this issue, and parallels between the two "stories" provide further insights into behaviour - the denial of responsibility for (and the existence of) social inadequacies; and the implicit (and inevitable) existence of the capacity for social inadequacy in any business organization. Practical implications - The potential to communicate managerial lessons by telling "stories" (the case) through well-known "stories" (the novel) is highlighted. Originality/value - The use of the constructed metaphor to analyse a case of international retail divestment is, to the authors' knowledge, unique and enhances the understanding of the legitimisation process and the role of socio-moral codes in this process. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

Author-supplied keywords

  • Corporate strategy
  • Divestment
  • Egypt
  • International business
  • Metaphors

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Authors

  • Ayman El-Amir

  • Steve Burt

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