This paper takes China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO)’s investment in the Piraeus Port as a case study to explore the development of the sensemaking of its CEOs in taking key strategic decisions. The extant literature assumes that decisions by CEOs of Chinese state own enterprises are informed by the interests of the State. This paper employs social constructionist organisation theory to investigate COSCO’s then CEO Wei Jiafu’s social interaction with various Chinese and Greek stakeholders from his multiple social identities in the Chinese corporate and political realms. It shows that the synergy of these identities was a driving factor behind the first encounters between Mr Wei and the Greek government officials and behind the initiation of the idea to invest in Piraeus during those first encounters. The following encounters gradually enlarged the critical mass of supporters for the investment, ending in the signing of the agreement.
- China, outward foreign direct investment, social identity, personal strategic motivation, Piraeus
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