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Multinational corporations: the changing landscape

Joseph T. Martelli (The University of Findlay, Findlay, Ohio, USA)
Patricia B. Abels (The University of Findlay, Findlay, Ohio, USA)

Management Research Review

ISSN: 2040-8269

Article publication date: 19 July 2011




The purpose of this paper is to explore how internationalization has impacted the composition and performance of global companies. Trends among continents, countries and across industries are shown in order to further understand the effects of internationalization on these prominent organizations in our world economy.


This is a descriptive study using a cross‐sectional design. The unit of analysis consists of the companies comprising the world's largest 500 companies as reported by Fortune Magazine in 2009. Secondary data covering more than 30 variables and 500 cases were collected pertaining to these large organizations. The “world's largest 500 companies” is further divided by continents and countries in order to provide detailed cross tab analysis.


Utilizing the Global Industry Standard Classification (GICS), the authors categorized the diversity of firms based upon the type of products or services rendered by the world's largest 500 companies. It was found that these influential global organizations fall under ten broad classifications for industry sectors, with the financial sector being the dominant classification among 101 multinational firms. The results indicated that the USA dominated in all GICS sectors, except for energy. Europe is producing the largest amount of total global revenue at $10 trillion and employs the greatest number of workers, employing some 18,907,256 global employees.

Research limitations/implications

The analysis was not designed to make a generalization for the population of all global organizations.


The authors' research not only identifies and describes these characteristics, but is intended to increase awareness of how internationalization has changed the composition and performance of the world's largest 500 companies over the five‐year period spanning 2005 through 2009.



Martelli, J.T. and Abels, P.B. (2011), "Multinational corporations: the changing landscape", Management Research Review, Vol. 34 No. 8, pp. 889-909.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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