Socio-Political Interaction in Transnational Social Spaces: Power, Micro-Political Strategizing and Cross-Border Conflicts in Multinational Companies
University of Groningen (The Netherlands)
University of Surrey (UK)
Call for papers
This subgroup invites scholars interested in socio-political interaction and the study of power, micro-political game playing and cross-border conflicts in multinational companies (MNCs). Two recently published Special Issues (see below) highlight the growing academic interest in these topics and develop an alternative understanding of socio-political activities and conflicts in MNCs. These are no longer seen as dysfunctional or the result of an inefficient global integration as often stressed in mainstream international business studies, but as normal consequences of managing and organizing across national borders.
Given the long neglect of these topics, there is a wide array of open questions which need to be further studied and addressed. An aspect especially neglected is the role of key actors and interactive relations and processes between various actors operating within and outside the MNC. First, we are interested in micro-political strategizing taking place, e.g. within one particular subsidiary or within the headquarters. Secondly, we are interested in socio-political activities, reflecting the influence of 'contextual rationalities' and institutions as well as corporate-wide social relationships between the subsidiary and its headquarters and between different subsidiaries. Issues which are in the centre of socio-political interactions are the allocation of mandates, control of subsidiaries, subsidiary initiatives, corporate-wide reorganization processes as well as the international transfer and translation of management practices developed elsewhere.
The convenors would like to invite papers from a wide range of areas, such as international management, organization studies, cultural studies, industrial relations and socio-economics, applying both quantitative and qualitative methodologies.
The following questions are of primary interest:
- Who are the key actors in socio-political activities across national borders, and how do they socially construct certain 'contextual rationalities' and related micro-political strategies in the MNC?
- What are the rationales, values and motives of powerful key actors (e.g. HQ and different types of subsidiary managers) in socio-political interactions and cross-border conflicts?
- What are basic socio-political cross-border activities, and what are the key interaction patterns, lines of conflicts and organizational outcomes underpinning these issues?
- What role does language play in the socio-political interactions across-national and functional borders?
How do internal organizational power relations and the overall control strategy of the MNC interact with particular socio-political issues, micro-political strategies and conflicts?
- What is the influence of the country of origin and the local/national embeddedness of the subsidiaries on socio-political activities in the MNC?
- How do 'institutional gaps' in regulation and welfare, as well as profound asymmetric relations in the institutional and cultural environments of the key actors, influence socio-political interactions in MNCs?
- How are socio-political activities and micro-political strategies in MNCs related to external institutional dynamics, stimulated by the transformation of established national business systems and the emergence of new transnational institutional standards and regulations (e.g. of the WTO)?
- What are the merits and limits of relevant conceptual ideas, such as economic, evolutionary, culturalist and institutionalist approaches, structuration theory, conflict theory and new studies about 'transnational social space' and socio-political processes, so far?
Dörrenbächer, Christoph & Mike Geppert (2006): Micro-Politics and Conflicts in Multinational Companies. Journal of International Management (Special Issue), 12/3.
Rodriguez, Peter, Donald S. Siegel, Amy Hillman & Lorraine Eden (2006): Three Lenses on the Multinational Enterprise: Politics, Corruption, and Corporate Social Responsibility. Journal of International Business Studies (Special Issue), 37/6.
About the convenors
Christoph Dörrenbächer is Assistant Professor of International Business and Management at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. His current research concentrates on multinational corporations, especially international human resource management, knowledge transfer and subsidiary role development.
Mike Geppert holds a Chair in Comparative International Management and Organizational Studies at the University of Surrey, UK. His general research interests are in the areas of organization theory and international management.