Project: Political Economy of Reconciliation

Authors: Angelika Rettberg from the GJS Hub and the The Working Through Violence Research Team

A 2021 survey of seven cities around the world during the Covid-19 pandemic offers clues to how businesses handle crises. Analyzing responses from 78,000 people in Bogotá and Medellín, Colombia; Beirut, Lebanon; Cape Town, South Africa; Caracas, Venezuela; San Pedro Sula, Honduras; and San Salvador, El Salvador, the authors find that many of the biggest challenges that firms face under crisis are sociopolitical in nature, not financial. As such, these challenges are complex, systemic, and hard to quantify. They also scare managers operating in these contexts, especially in cities where extortion and business violence are pervasive. In such settings, firms benefit from community embeddedness and a recognition that they are both influenced by and able to shape the systems around them — positively or negatively.