A process-based guide for international entrepreneurs while investing in the agrifood sector of an emerging economy: a multi-layer decision-making approach

Publication Name

British Food Journal


Purpose: Due to the political, economic and infrastructure barriers and risks that international entrepreneurs (IEs) face when researching an emerging economy's agrifood sector, this research aims to identify the major barriers, analyse their relationships, quantify their importance, classify and rank them. Thus, the IEs will gain a better understanding and vision of their decision-making processes in this era. Design/methodology/approach: To do this, the authors first created a list of barriers to entry for IEs into Iran's rising economy's agrifood industry. Following that, a multi-layer decision-making approach was developed and implemented to accomplish the research objectives. The first stage utilized a hybrid of interpretive structural modelling (ISM) and cross-impact matrix multiplication applied to classification (MICMAC) to depict the level-based conceptual model and classification of the IEs’ obstacles to entry into the agrifood sector. Following that, a hybrid decision-making trial and evaluation laboratory (DEMATEL), and analytic network process (ANP) called DANP was utilized to present a causal relationship between the barriers, identify their causes and effects, and also quantify the relevance of each barrier. Findings: After employing the multi-layer decision-making approach, the results demonstrated that fundamental limitations, including infrastructure and technology limitations, are the most critical barriers alongside policy factors encompassing governmental support and access to global or regional economy/market. According to the results, innovation and economic sustainability of the agrifood supply chain also matter. All of these critical barriers are intertwined and should be planned and solved simultaneously. Furthermore, based on DANP results, the sustainability pillars (economy, environment, society), besides the low efficiency of the agrifood sector in Iran, should be investigated further for future policy makings. Originality/value: A hybrid multi-layer decision-making approach has been used for analysing the barriers of investment in the agrifood sector of the emerging economy of Iran for the international entrepreneurs. Moreover, the authors provide implications and insights for IEs and officials for decision-making in the future.

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