Politicization and political contests in contemporary multinational corporations

Страна: N/A

Город: N/A

Тезисы до: 30.09.2016

Даты: 30.09.16 — 30.09.16

Е-мейл Оргкомитета: humanrelationsjournal@tavinstitute.org

Организаторы: Human Relations


The special issue aims to bring to the fore the ubiquity of power relations in modern MNC organizations. Previous scholarly contributions in the field of international business and related areas have tended to regard power as being ‘stored’ in external institutional, or internal organizational structures. By contrast, the point of departure of the current call regards power in the MNC as being primarily relational, manifested as a product of continuously socially constructed relationships between key actors, flowing through different circuits (Clegg 1989; Clegg et al., 2006). The premise that MNC organization and management are fundamentally politicized is of considerable significance from a scholarly perspective, as it serves to breach the disciplinary shackles that have obscured meaningful insight into MNC praxis.

The study of politicization and political contests in contemporary MNCs raises questions about the role of identities and ideologies of primary stakeholders as well as the dominant external social and economic relations that contribute to the formation of normative and structural orders within international corporations. Accordingly, we look for papers that shed light on the emergence of a transnational capital class which shares a common set of elite interests and is engaged in a regime of global capital accumulation (see e.g. Carroll, 2010; Murray and Scott, 2012). Similarly we wish to attract studies that consider the patterns of domination resulting from post- or neo-colonialism and the pervasive financialization of capitalist societies pertinent to comprehending the shaping of power relationships between HQs and subsidiaries.

Related to the former, our special issue aims to address questions that include the power of MNCs in relation to the host countries in which their subsidiaries are based, relations that are often described as ‘asymmetrical’ (Clark and Geppert, 2006) or ‘hegemonic’ (Levy 2008), notably in the context of emerging economies. Within newly emerging ‘transnational social spaces’ (Morgan, 2001) power relations are being constructed through the relational interplay of various transnational actors, elites, devices and discourses. We wish to explore the role of key actors, their conflicting perceptions and sensemaking, the powerful boundaries that they construct to constrain social and economic relations, manage resistances to change, channel the powers of knowledge flows and innovation and deploy dominant ideologies. In addition, the national and transnational institutions operating to constitute power and political behaviour in MNCs require consideration.

The special issue will place emphasis on various forms of contemporary MNCs in both service and manufacturing sectors. Here we are in particular interested in new empirical studies focusing on the impact of GPNs (Kaplinsky, 2000) through which MNCs project systems of governance to co-ordinate and control networks of production across socially embedded and regionally dispersed organizational units. In accord with Levy (2008) we believe that GPNs are reflective of an era of transnational development in which not only that which is produced and consumed has become commodified through neo-liberal discourses but also the organizations engaged in these processes and relations. We would therefore encourage submissions that concentrate on new evolutions in the socially constructed international division of labour as well scholarly reflections on how GPNs and contemporary MNC constructions have served to perpetuate hegemonic and neo-colonial tendencies.

Additionally, this special issue should attract contributions that concentrate on newly emerging political ‘contests’ (Edwards and Bélanger, 2009); for instance, those between the groups of actors occupying various social spaces manifesting the politicization of MNCs at local, national and international levels (Ferner et al., 2012). Submissions that study MNCs headquartered in emerging economies are particularly welcome. Papers might concentrate on pressing issues such as how multi-layered dominance effects between headquarters and subsidiaries are played out across unchartered institutional and geographical spaces and whether qualitatively different forms of resistance are encountered when the subsidiaries are embedded in a more robust and mature institutional environment than the ‘parent’.

Finally, another vital line of inquiry for submissions would relate to the question of how contemporary MNCs are divided and politicized on the basis of discursive orientations adopted by constituent groups according to differential linguistic capabilities (Riad, 2005; Vaara et al., 2005). Papers might draw on recent discursive departures in the study of MNCs but also cast some new and more radical theoretical light on MNC organization, placing social actors at the centre of debate, drawing upon a full range of social science disciplines to engender critical insight and empirically informed discussion.

Given these considerations, we seek submissions from a wide range of social science disciplines for potential contributions, e.g. from sociology, political economy, social psychology, economic geography, organization theory, organizational behaviour, international management, human resource management and industrial relations.

We welcome conceptual and empirical contributions that critically explore, but are not limited to, any of the following themed questions:

  • What are the meanings of power, politics and politicization within different contemporary and historical contexts of MNCs?
  • How does the existence of a transnational business elite have an impact on the normative frames available to contemporary MNCs?
  • What is the impact of financialization on power and political processes in contemporary MNCs?
  • What are the micro-political consequences of global standardized management approaches in local plants?
  • What is the nature of micro-political game playing across the contemporary MNC? Do we find new games played in MNCs originating from emerging economies?
  • How do global production networks (GPNs) and similar modern MNC constructions, manifest asymmetry/unequal power relations across constituent elements?
  • Can western conceptual constructs be generalised across non-western societies? If not, what changes in theorising and methods for the study of the politicised MNC are needed?

Веб-сайт конференции: http://www.tavinstitute.org/humanrelations/special_issues/Politics%20and%20MNCs.html