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Standing Working Group 1: 
Comparative Study of Economic Organizations : Beyond the National Business System? The Multi-Level Interaction of Economic Actors and Institutions


Glenn Morgan, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, UK

Richard Whitley, Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, UK

Michel Goyer
, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, UK


Call for papers: 

With the changing inter-state system and the growth of transnational economic institutions, the comparative study of economic organisation needs to address more systematically how the dominant institutions governing economic activities and their interrelationships at different levels are developing. An important focus of concern here is how different kinds of national and international institutions complement or conflict with each other in their implications for economic actors’ strategies and interrelationships, and provide opportunities for particular kinds of groups to influence institutional changes. 

We invite contributions which examine how economic, social and political actors relate to these processes. A number of broad aspects of this may be considered:

  • In what ways have inter-state relationships between OECD countries become more governed by common authority norms, agreements and institutions that cross over and beyond national boundaries since the 1950s. How have such norms, agreements and institutions become established, and what are their implications for economic activities and organisation?

  • How do international forms of governance, both public and private, impinge upon, complement and conflict with, national ones, and with what consequences for different economic actors and activities?

  • What do these processes mean for existing institutional complementarities in national business systems? How far does the creation and activations of new complementarities across national borders through the development of international institutions undermine or reinforce existing institutional interdependencies within national business systems?

  • How are different kinds of nationally organised economic actors able to use contradictions between different levels of institutional governance to change their goals and activities?

  • How do economic actors strategize to develop new competences and capabilities by combining institutional resources across a variety of levels of political and economic authority?

  • How are the identities and collective action capabilities of different social actors within national and regional contexts reconstructed by the opening up of multi-level social spaces? This also relates to how the constructions of international bodies spill over into shaping the actions of organized interests and political actors in the national context.

  • What kinds of novel international economic actors have developed, and how do their strategies and competences differ from more nationally constituted ones?

  • How do economic actors strategize to develop new institutional frameworks that facilitate the opening up of new resources and the potential for new forms of cross national complementarities?

  • What kinds of novel multileveled systems of economic organisation are developing in different industries as a result of the decline of the Westphalian state, and what economic outcomes can they be expected to generate?

  • What kinds of relationships are developing between cross-national political systems and actors, and economic ones? Are these significantly different from those at national levels? To what extent are international markets becoming more authoritatively coordinated through inter-state sharing of sovereignty, and in what ways?

About the convenors: 

1.  Glenn Morgan, Professor of Organizational Behaviour, Warwick Business School

2.  Richard Whitley, Professor of Organizational Sociology, Manchester Business School

3.  Michel Goyer, Lecturer in Comparative Governance, Warwich Business School