Kostova, Roth and Dacin called in 2008 for the advancement of a theoretical conception of the multinational corporation (MNC) that takes into account both power relationships among actors and the structure of its internal institutional field. While micro-political scholars of MNCs have started to answer the former part of the call regarding power, the second part has not been thoroughly addressed yet. Furthermore, the agentic aspects typical of power games and the structural aspects characterizing institutional fields have not been fully combined in a multi-level perspective of MNCs so far. Leaning on Bourdieu, we suggest an answer to the pending call. We theorize the MNC as a playing field of power emerging around the issue of finding a meta-rate of conversion of the actors’ capitals constituted in national fields. We conceive such issue field in a dynamic state due to the constant entry and exit of new players (e.g. through mergers, acquisitions or divestitures). This results in the need to continuously test the validity of exchange rates. The role of the metainstitutional field level of the MNC as a global category is also discussed.
The authors, who contributed equally to the article, wish to thank Christoph Dörrenbächer, Mike Geppert, Jürgen Mühlbacher and the participants in a seminar at University of Jena for their extremely helpful comments and support.
Delmestri, G. and Brumana, M. (2017), "The Multinational Corporation as a Playing Field of Power: A Bourdieusian Approach", Multinational Corporations and Organization Theory: Post Millennium Perspectives (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 49), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 325-353. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0733-558X20160000049011Download as .RIS
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