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Over the past decade, politics perspectives in international business have moved into the mainstream repertoire of research, theory development and teaching about the organisational behaviour of multinational corporations (MNCs). Politics perspectives contribute substantially to understanding the behaviour in and of MNCs in their different contexts and environments but so far these burgeoning perspectives have not been systematically and comprehensively reviewed. This book offers the first detailed overview of the theoretical foundations, methodologies and empirical applications of politics perspectives in MNCs. A group of international authors discuss twelve seminal contributions to the study of politics, power and conflict in MNCs, followed by a summary and synthesis of the literature into a comprehensive analytical framework. The book closes with a discussion of future directions in the field. This is a thorough introduction to political behaviour in MNCs written for scholars and graduate students in the fields of organisation studies and international business.
The objective of this chapter is to provide a critical overview over recent theory-based research on multinational corporations (MNC) conflict. In particular, we seek to understand and explicate the contributions of the various theoretical approaches and perspectives applied in international business (IB) research towards the analysis of conflictual situations and processes in MNC contexts. In modeling conflict in MNC international business, authors draw on diverse theoretical traditions, including psychology, sociology and economics as well as organizational conflict theory. We wish to critically fathom their respective potential for the description and explanation of MNC conflict and, in addition, provide some insights into the theoretical lacunae remaining within the IB conflict research: where and how can we better integrate and extend conflict research in the IB field in order to fully capitalize on the theoretical advancements in conflict research at large? And where do we need to adjust concepts and constructs drawn from related fields to better account for the complex context of MNC conflicts? For reasons expounded upon below, the critical review concentrates on conflicts arising in the MNC headquarters–subsidiary relationship.
Since the MNC as an organization has become an object of study in its own right, it has been characterized as an inherently conflictual arena (Bartlett and Ghoshal 1989; Doz and Prahalad 1991; Gladwin and Walter 1980; Pahl and Roth 1993; Prahalad and Doz 1987).
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