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The Hassle Factor

Why do businesses avoid certain countries? In part, it's... the Hassle Factor

Research shows travel inconveniences affect a company's foreign location choices. The prevalent assumption in business research and practice is that multinational enterprises choose their foreign locations based on purely macro economic or market factors and not managerial preferences. This assumption is far from reality.

Utilizing a multi-method research design, we developed an 11-item measure composed of travel inconveniences that have a significant negative effect on the relationship between foreign investment potential and realized investment. We call this phenomenon the “Hassle Factor.”

Interactive Hassle Factor World Map (click on countries)

LOW HASSLE
MED-LOW HASSLE
MED-HIGH HASSLE
HIGH HASSLE

Click on country names to compare scores

Lowest Hassle Factor Countries Highest Hassle Factor Countries

The Hassle Factors (Rank ordered High to Low)

  1. Local
    Transportation

  2. Climate

  3. Business
    Facilitation

  4. Health &
    Medical

  5. Risks for
    Women

  6. Visa, Entry
    Permits

  7. Telecom-
    munications

  8. Hotel
    Standards

  9. Language

  10. Food, Water
    Hygiene

  11. Personal
    Safety

We conducted many interviews with executives about factors that influence their firms’ foreign location decisions. We found that these decisions are not detached from microfoundational managerial preferences and are instead often based on how troublesome it is for managers to travel to or live in certain places. The consequence is that even the most reputable multinationals frequently end up with a location mix that is suboptimal for their future global growth.

This website provides a visualization of the "Hassle Factor" in the form of an interactive world map and country by country cobweb graphics for 131 locations. We also provide the country scores as a downloadable MS-Excel file in the resources section.

The Journal of International Business Studies published the full research study in 2013: 
Schotter, A., & Beamish, P. W. (2013). The hassle factor: An explanation for managerial location shunning. Journal of International Business Studies, 44(5), 521-544.

Click on country names to compare scores

Lowest Hassle Factor Countries Highest Hassle Factor Countries
1. Denmark 1. Sudan
2. Canada 2. Angola
3. Belgium 3. Nicaragua
4. Austria 4. Burkina Faso
5. UK 5. Nigeria
6. Germany 6. Laos

Survey says...