When firms behave "responsibly", are the roots national or global?

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Abstract

The article proposes to assess the extent to which corporate codes of conduct are converging or, conversely, remain distinctly national in character. This approach makes it possible to assess whether purportedly global firms are influenced by global norms or domestic factors. The empirical basis for the. analysis includes field research interviewing senior corporate and government officials as well as a wealth of aggregate statistical data. Three areas of corporate activity were systematically examined: governance and finance; research and development; and trade and direct investment. The research revealed three discernable clusters of behaviour across the operational areas, epitomised by the cases of the three largest national economies - Germany, Japan, and the USA. It follows that, if the world's largest corporations (purportedly the progenitors of globalization) are not converging in terms of behaviour in the activities that they adjudge to be most strategically important to them, then the proponents (and indeed prophets) of globalization are obviously clearly overstating their case. National champions may have been disappearing like the dinosaurs, but national patterns of behaviour are not.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-528
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Social Science Journal
Issue number185
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)

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