This case study was intended for MBA/postgraduate level courses, or for high-level executive courses. It provided a complex international business context to analyse the intricacies and dependencies between emerging regions, wherein a company (Grupo M) established an entire manufacturing cluster and invested all its assets in a place that has never hosted any industrial activity – in a country whose culture and traditions differed significantly from those of the neighbouring country that provided the investment. The case included a discussion of the negotiations that a private company undertook with two governments (Haiti and the Dominican Republic) to secure access to the free-zone facilities granted by the importing countries.
The case could be seen as a stimulating international business context to examine central tenets around “shared value creation” (Porter and Kramer, 2011): the practice of creating economic value in a way that also creates value for society by addressing its needs and challenges. As per these authors, there are three ways to create shared value: by reconceiving products and markets, by redefining productivity in the value chain and by enabling local cluster development. The latter is the one best exemplified in this case. Additionally, the case brought intriguing insights on international business that can be related to ethics, corporate social responsibility and its many facets (Banerjee, 2007), as well as concepts around “responsible lobbying” (Anastasiadis et al., 2018).
This case presented the expansion challenges of CODEVI, a Dominican company, which established and operated an industrial (free zone) park in Haiti. Grupo M decided to move its operations when The World Trade Organization eliminated the quota system for apparel imported from the Far East Countries, and its CEO, Fernando Capellán, foresaw that the Dominican Republic would soon become non-competitive. At the time, an agreement between the US and Haiti, which gave preferential access to production from this extremely poor country, was being negotiated. In 2003, there were two sleepy towns at the Haitian-Dominican border: Dajabón, with about 18,000 inhabitants in the Dominican side, and Ounaminthe in Haiti, with about 40,000 inhabitants (with 90 per cent unemployment and over 80 per cent living below the extreme poverty line) on the Haitan side. These two locations were at the heart of a case that narrated how a complex international business operation resulted in an industrial park that has enjoyed considerable economic success, while simultaneously improving dramatically the living conditions of both border towns: Dajabón now has about 35,000 inhabitants and was a booming town, with a prosperous middle class; Ounaminthe now had 170,000 inhabitants (17,000 work directly at CODEVI), and was a city that essentially remained outside the chaos that often plagues the rest of Haiti. Additionally, a major impact of CODEVI was that it stopped the area’s illegal emigration of Haitians to the Dominican Republic, one of the Dominican Republic’s most pressing problems. But as the CODEVI industrial park has no area to expand, a decision must be made to either expand next to the present park, or at one of the three sister towns along the border. Such a park would have to be built from nothing, as was the case for CODEVI almost two decades ago.
Complexity academic level
MBA, executive and postgraduate.
Teaching notes are available for educators only.
CSS 5: International Business.
Disclaimer. This case is written solely for educational purposes and is not intended to represent successful or unsuccessful managerial decision making. The author/s may have disguised names; financial and other recognizable information to protect confidentiality.
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited