The dynamically changing economic environment in Central and Eastern European (CEE) and the expected integration of some of the CEE
into the European Union offer new business opportunities for Western companies. This chapter addresses the question of how to
successfully in CEE markets, and particularly in Poland. Dunning s eclectic paradigm serves as conceptual framework for the analysis. It is shown that in order to gain and maintain competitive advantage in Poland, Western companies will have to plan their business strategically and choose an optimum market entry strategy. The latter involves a complex decision-making process that is examined in this chapter with the help of findings from an empirical study
by the author.
for competitive advantage in Poland
of the European Union (EU) by up to 13 member states
will offer new opportunities to Western companies that choose to
. From an economic perspective, special attention has to be paid to the markets of the future
. The first Central and Eastern European (CEE) candidate states will be integrated into the EU by 2004. Poland is expected to be among these entrants, provided no unforeseen difficulties emerge in respect of the required budget stabilization and economic consolidation.
With a population of 38.6 million Poland is the largest economy to apply for EU membership. Although currently
, which is ascribed to internal problems, Poland is
one of the most successful transition economies. The ˜
programme implemented during the past
has changed the economy to a market system and privatized
state-owned companies. Today the private sector accounts for more than 70 per cent of economic activity. On the whole Poland offers an attractive sales market for West European companies (Manrai
2001; Tewes, 2001) but in order to capitalize on this a systematic strategical approach is needed by new entrants and established companies alike.
Against this background, the key question of our research is how foreign companies can gain competitive advantage in the Polish market and thus reach the position where customers perceive their products and services as
offerings, that is, of better quality or better value. To answer this question we shall first outline the concept of strategic planning. Then a theoretical foundation is derived from John Dunning s ˜eclectic paradigm of international production (Dunning, 1988, 1993, 1995), which enables
analysis of competitive advantages and strategy parameters. As the CEE markets, which were isolated until the late 1980s, provide a unique opportunity to test
of internationalization (Peng and Heath, 1996, p. 493), the results of a survey of market entry behaviour by Western companies in CEE are used to validate our theoretical findings.
The applicants include Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Malta, Cyprus and Turkey. Most
are expected to complete their
negotiations by the end of 2002. Turkey, however, will not be able to start membership negotiations until certain
have been implemented (Ausw rtiges Amt, 2001).