EGOS Symposium II: Politics and Power in the Multinational Company
Thursday, July 7, 2011, 17:30–18:30
Mike Geppert, School of Management, University of Surrey, UK
Florian Becker-Ritterspach, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
Speakers and abstract of presentations
Introduction to politics and power in the MNC: An emerging field of research
What has been missing in mainstream research on MNCs is a more nuanced sociological understanding of organisational power and politics in which questions are asked about for whom certain managerial strategies are effective or efficient, who is actually benefiting from the implementation of more standardized global management structures, benchmarking systems, best practices or global mindsets within MNCs, and who is losing out and why. Based on this critique, I argue that a socio-political approach to studying MNCs is required and make some suggestions about what we need to address when taking such a perspective.
Critical perspectives on MNCs
MNCs are powerful organizations whose actions have significant economic and societal implications. It is important that students of international management develop and apply critical approaches to better understand the various cultural, political and ethical problems that MNCs are confronted with in their operations. I am particularly interested in the ways in which MNCs deal with legitimation challenges in mediatized society.
A political analysis of strategic decision-making in MNCs
The focus of the presentation is on why it is important to understand strategic decision-making as a political activity, the concepts we can employ for its analysis, and the problems of researching it. As an illustration, I will refer to the evolution of China's largest container port – a majority-owned MNC – which was conditional on reaching both internal and external accommodations through political processes.
International sourcing and asymmetry: Arbitrage, risk and control in the offshoring of software development
As labour cost arbitrage represents a key rationale for outsourcing activity, the decision of a 'parent' operation to establish an offshore utility is marked, at its inception, by asymmetry in the economic and social status between headquarters and offshore units. Yet also inherent in the decision to offshore is the assumption of greater risk by the parent concern, accompanied by the obligation to manage greater complexity over distance. This presentation focuses on the realities of managing the offshore-outsourcing process across diverse socio- economic zones.