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Has globalization eroded firms’ responsibility for their employees? A sociological analysis of transnational firms’ corporate social responsibility policies concerning their employees in the Netherlands, 1980–2010

  • Sander Quak, Johan Heilbron (a1) and Romke van der Veen (a2)


Since the 1970s many firms expanded their operations across national borders and were restructured to fit the changing economic conditions during these times of economic globalization. Using a sociological approach to transnational firms, in this article the authors research the consequences of these developments for the responsibility of two transnational firms towards their employees in the Netherlands. These firms experienced a shift in their dual embeddedness in national and transnational economic fields, with the latter gaining importance. In response, they adjusted their corporate policies and structure to fit the competitive conditions of these fields, causing a centralization of their corporate labor policy on the transnational level, the polarization of this policy and the instrumentalization of labor and labor policy. This also meant that their responsibility for their employees was restructured and reduced.


Corresponding author

* Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Burgemeester Oudlaan 50, M-Building, Office M6-26, 3062 PA Rotterdam, The Netherlands, E-mail:


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