University of Twente Student Theses


Commercial diplomacy and the role of embassies, from a target group perspective: in the case of the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Malaysia

Haaf, W.R.A. ten (2010) Commercial diplomacy and the role of embassies, from a target group perspective: in the case of the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Malaysia.

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Abstract:The traditional boundaries of our geopolitical-economic world maps are being challenged, a process referred to as globalization. Globalization may be defined as the broadening and deepening of linkages between national economies into a worldwide market for goods, services and especially capital. In recent decades the international business environment has undergone major changes, with the result that international trade and diplomatic relations have achieved a new dimension. Governments are recognizing the growing importance of commercial diplomatic activities. Commercial diplomacy is a topic that changes slowly in the spotlight of scientific research. Current research is focused on the perspective of historical development and the increasing need for commercial diplomacy in the encroaching globalization. Less research has been conducted in the practical field, which is overshadowed by economic diplomacy. This master thesis project has been devoted to the practical side of commercial diplomatic activities, from a target group perspective. How are the policies translated into a toolkit of activities, how are they executed by embassies, and how are these activities perceived by the target group? The aim of this research is to answer the question: What commercial diplomatic activities are executed and how are they perceived by the target groups? In order to study the objective and answer the research question, data was gathered in cooperation with one embassy. This information should deliver in-depth knowledge and describe how commercial diplomatic activities are executed by embassies and perceived by the target groups. This descriptive study was done in the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Malaysia. The data for the research was collected by interviewing SME and MNE representatives in Kuala Lumpur via an interview protocol with questions about their experience and perception of the commercial diplomatic activities executed by diplomats. The results display that: - According to the commercial diplomats, the embassy is willing to help, but the initiative for help or assistance should come from the company. The embassy is proactive towards sector promotion. The majority of time is spent on matchmaking activities and answering questions. - Companies who are familiar with the Malaysian business environment apply less for embassy assistance, and support towards newcomers has been perceived as valuable. - Embassy’s approach towards support and assistance is reactive, companies have to ask the embassy. Embassy is willing to help each company. - SMEs that are unfamiliar with the country are satisfied with the matchmaking facilities, and all companies who had applied for supporting facilities of the embassy feel comfortable in that situation. - Information provided by the embassy is recognized as general information. - It is acknowledged that the embassy has an extensive network in the private and public sector. - The image of the Netherlands is largely built up by renowned MNEs and mainly has an influence on SMEs in the oil and gas industry. Master Thesis Commercial diplomacy and the role of embassies ‘From a target group perspective’ Wouter ten Haaf Page 5 of 76 After discussing the results, it became clear that the embassy could be very helpful towards newcomers and supported Dutch companies abroad. The target group of the embassy is not always aware what type of support the commercial diplomat can deliver. In addition, the perception of the commercial diplomatic activities depends on the personal characteristics of the ambassador (as figurehead) and the commercial diplomat. Suggestions for topics for future research include the influence of the commercial diplomat/ ambassador's personal characteristics on the image of the embassy, the HR policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in conjunction with the level of service, and the influence of trade missions accompanied by captains of industry.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Royal Netherlands Embassy Kuala Lumpur
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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