Success Characteristics of Foreign Direct Investments in Cuba: A Case Study

Success Characteristics of Foreign Direct Investments in Cuba: A Case Study

Author: 
Janet L. Walsh
Program of study: 
D.B.A.
Abstract: 
FDI in the Cuban tourism industry has grown rapidly under the leadership of Cuban President Raul Castro. However, because of the United States embargo and competitive business strategies from companies working in Cuba, little scholarly information exists that could help United States companies with Cuba market entry. This case study examined market entry strategies, challenges, opportunities, and organizational actions of 18 tourism businesses operating in Cuba. Five themes emerged including limitations for market entry, the criticality of relationships, identifying the customer, the need to develop a unique business strategy, and the need to be adaptable. Study results found the theoretical underpinnings of market entry were less important than the relationships developed between inbound companies and Cuban officials and emphasized the need for organizational adaptability. United States embargo constrained Cuba market entry on multiple levels including obtaining a license (for United States organizations) difficulty attracting financing, banking, access to markets, advertising, transportation, and technology platforms. These constraints, however, were not sufficient to limit organizations from achieving market entry. Similarly, a lack of Internet access, the state driven employee/employer relationship, tax strategies, and legal infrastructure did not constrain market entry. United States organizations, particularly those in the tourism industry, seeking to understand the complexities of doing business in Cuba may find this information useful. The research may help academics understand the unique challenges in Cuba and provide opportunities for future research.
Dedication: 
To Admiral Sport a Thoroughbred, in every respect.
Acknowledgements: 
Great undertakings of many years would not be possible without the support and encouragement of many dedicated family members, friends, and colleagues. I would like to particularly thank and recognize the following individuals for their help and support. Dr. Ruth L. Walsh, Steven L. Walsh, William P. Walsh Jr., Philip Walsh Sr., Philip Walsh Jr., Barbara Walsh, Mary Doheny, Scott Laird, Kathi Walker, Steve Walker, Desy Campbell, Hollister Lindley, Eleanor Kress, Rick Gimbert, Richard Humphrey, John O’Loughlin, Leah Walker, and Elizabeth Walker for their encouragement and support.To Dr. Robert Stauffer, a gifted scholar and business person for all his help, and Dr. Felicia Riney and Dr. Kim Padilla, my teammates through much of this program who provide much needed advice, and never let anyone quit. Tom Popper for “starting it all,” Jim McGuirk for asserting I would “crush the dissertation,” David McMillian for his expert knowledge and inspiring, spellbinding stories, and Orlando Villaverde for his early advice and perspective. Dr. Baugh, my committee chair for his unwaveringly positive, calm perspective, guidance through the process, and suggesting a celebratory “Nebuchadnezzar.” Dr. North for her matchless knowledge of the complex structures involved in dissertation research and outstanding advice, and as important, her appreciation for my agricultural interests and conversation. Dr. Worth for his extraordinary understanding of global business, world travel perspective, and faith in me as an individual. And finally for Atilla, Winky, Squeaky, Dani, Rocky, Freckles, and Chipper for holding it-just one more minute (most of the time), until I finished typing, and to Scotty for carrying me across the finish line.