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1 – 10 of 15
Article
Publication date: 11 September 2018

Christina Stringer and Snejina Michailova

Modern slavery, one of the most abhorrent crimes against humanity, is a profitable international business (IB). It often operates in a hidden form in the global value…

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Abstract

Purpose

Modern slavery, one of the most abhorrent crimes against humanity, is a profitable international business (IB). It often operates in a hidden form in the global value chains (GVCs) governed by multinational corporations (MNCs). The purpose of this paper is to examine why slavery exists in GVCs and what this means for MNCs.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper borrows insights from the GVC literature to conceptually link MNCs and modern slavery. Different from the IB literature that predominantly focusses on the MNC as a single firm, the paper emphasizes the importance of paying attention to the MNC value chains and their complexity and fragmentation.

Findings

Three factors which help explain modern slavery in GVCs are examined: the complexity of GVCs and the challenges this poses to their governance, the business case for slavery and the conditions that enable modern slavery. These factors, taken together, provide an explanation why modern slavery can creep into, persist and thrive in MNCs’ GVCs.

Research limitations/implications

The argument is put forward for the need for IB scholars to borrow from the GVC literature to help understand why slavery can exist in the GVCs of MNCs. This opens the opportunity for examining the MNC in ways not considered by IB scholars so far.

Originality/value

The paper addresses an issue long ignored in IB research and issues a call for IB scholars to study MNCs in a new way, namely, linking MNCs’ activities with modern slavery.

Details

Multinational Business Review, vol. 26 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1525-383X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 6 June 2019

Brent Burmester, Snejina Michailova and Christina Stringer

Modern slavery is a problem that international business (IB) research can no longer ignore. Multinational enterprises (MNEs) are often contributors to the persistence of…

1074

Abstract

Purpose

Modern slavery is a problem that international business (IB) research can no longer ignore. Multinational enterprises (MNEs) are often contributors to the persistence of modern slavery, by virtue of the regulatory challenge they pose to states and their insufficient oversight of supply chains. The purpose of this paper is to show that governance inadequacies with respect to modern slavery will be lessened if IB scholars give more attention to MNEs’ governing role within and beyond global value chains.

Design/methodology/approach

A set of arguments is presented in support of intensified effort in IB research with respect to studying the role of MNEs in transnational labour governance. The paper draws inspiration from IB theory and the conceptualisation of the MNE in neighbouring disciplines that regard it as a bearer of duties toward labour, consistent with its role in multilevel governance. Insights from the literature on global and multi-level governance are utilised.

Findings

The paper construes modern slavery as a multi-level governance challenge and argues that MNE capabilities and responsibilities with respect to labour governance and the deterrence of slavery exceed those identified on the margins of IB literature. MNEs are underappreciated as governors within the multilevel transnational labour governance system. The IB discipline is in a strong position to develop our understanding of the MNE’s different roles in governance and thereby contribute to the reduced incidence of modern slavery.

Originality/value

This paper represents an attempt to mobilise the IB academy to help eliminate slavery from workplaces that rely on MNE patronage or where labour rights abuses are made possible by MNE diversion of governance resources. It places particular emphasis on the use and abuse of MNEs’ governance capabilities in the sphere of international relations and calls attention to over-simplification of the MNE, IB’s primary unit of analysis.

Details

critical perspectives on international business, vol. 15 no. 2/3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1742-2043

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 3 July 2017

Amira Khattak, Nigel Haworth, Christina Stringer and Maureen Benson-Rea

This paper aims to examine the relationship between economic upgrading (implementing higher value-added activities) and social upgrading (improvements in workers’ rights…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the relationship between economic upgrading (implementing higher value-added activities) and social upgrading (improvements in workers’ rights and employment) of supplier firms in global value chains (GVCs) governed by multinational enterprises (MNEs). This paper answers Buckley and Ghauri’s (2004) and Buckley and Strange (2015) calls to incorporate other theoretical approaches within the international business (IB) literature. Furthermore, the paper also responds to Lee and Gereffi (2015) argument, published in Critical perspectives on international business, of the need to incorporate the social impact of upgrading in the IB literature.

Design/methodology/approach

Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with representatives from five supplier firms each in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, as well as with industry representatives.

Findings

Governance patterns within GVCs can create the conditions for economic upgrading leading to social upgrading achievements. Institutional factors also affect the conditions for social upgrading. Although moving to higher value-added activities is critical for supplier firms, this does not necessarily lead to social upgrading. This paper’s research findings suggest that the combination of economic and social upgrading is positively associated with suppliers manufacturing high value-added products and operating in relational networks. In contrast, economic upgrading, by itself, was limited to those firms manufacturing low value-added products, typically those in captive networks.

Originality value

This research is among an emerging body of literature seeking to integrate the GVC literature with the IB field. Importantly, it also contributes to the GVC literature by providing insight into an under-theorized aspect – the relationship between social and economic upgrading.

Article
Publication date: 12 December 2018

Mohammad Tarikul Islam and Christina Stringer

Despite substantial economic upgrading, Bangladesh’s apparel industry remains confronted by claims of precarious working conditions. This paper aims to understand the…

Abstract

Purpose

Despite substantial economic upgrading, Bangladesh’s apparel industry remains confronted by claims of precarious working conditions. This paper aims to understand the challenges of achieving social upgrading and whether benefits of economic upgrading can transfer to workers and their dependents through social upgrading.

Design/methodology/approach

Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with 90 participants from six apparel firms in Bangladesh. The interviews were conducted following the Rana Plaza disaster.

Findings

The results suggest that social upgrading has not occurred to the same extent as economic upgrading. Social upgrading has been compromised in part, by the tiered factory system operating and a lack of governance within the lower tier firms.

Research limitations/implications

Single country and one industry constitute the main limitations of this research. Future research could include multiple countries and industries to allow for greater generalization of findings.

Originality/value

The paper provides new insights on how social upgrading might be compromised within the global value chains context and its impact on developing country supplier firms, workers and their families.

Details

Society and Business Review, vol. 15 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5680

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 5 March 2018

Jose L. Huesca-Dorantes, Snejina Michailova and Christina Stringer

This paper provides an overview of the Aztec 13 – the top 13 multinational enterprises in Mexico. Different from research that groups countries and regions, the purpose of…

1357

Abstract

Purpose

This paper provides an overview of the Aztec 13 – the top 13 multinational enterprises in Mexico. Different from research that groups countries and regions, the purpose of the paper is to deliver a nuanced picture of these multinationals in terms of their key characteristics and the strategies they follow when they internationalize.

Design/methodology/approach

All data sources that have been identified and reviewed are documents, printed and electronic. The Aztec multilatinas were identified using Forbes Global 2000 (2017). Other data sources such as media texts, company annual reports, reports filed with the Mexican Stock Exchange and the US Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as investor presentations, were collected and analyzed. Data sources were published in English and Spanish. The analytic procedure adopted entailed identifying, selecting, making sense of and synthesizing the data contained in the documents.

Findings

Aztec multilatinas have specific characteristics which, to a great extent, influence their internationalization strategies. Characteristics include the geographical location of their headquarters, their origin and history, their ownership structure and ties with families and government. These factors, combined, help to describe in greater nuance the internationalization strategies and activities of the Aztec 13. Such a detailed and focused description is a first necessary step for subsequent potential theorizing.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the vibrant scholarly conversation on multinational enterprises from less researched regions and countries. Latin America is such a region and Mexico is such a country. Focusing on a single country and its top 13 multinationals allow a comprehensive description and disciplined analysis, with no dangerous generalizations to large regions and even larger settings such as emerging markets multinationals and with no false claims for theorizing.

Details

Review of International Business and Strategy, vol. 28 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-6014

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 19 October 2012

Christina Stringer

The movement of profit‐orientated corporations into the fair trade value chain has caused some socially orientated fair trade organizations to question the direction the…

1005

Abstract

Purpose

The movement of profit‐orientated corporations into the fair trade value chain has caused some socially orientated fair trade organizations to question the direction the movement is taking. One organization at the forefront of the debate is Trade Aid (NZ), Inc. (hereafter Trade Aid), a New Zealand based socially orientated fair trade organization actively engaged in fair trade since the 1970s. This paper seeks to evaluate how Trade Aid is seeking to reformulate fair trade's vision of empowerment and partnership constructively.

Design/methodology/approach

A single case study approach is undertaken to examine how a socially orientated organization is adhering to and seeking to advance fair trade values. This research draws from the global value chain literature, which analyses how industries are governed. The relational co‐ordination or governance mode, which is characteristic of mutual dependency between supplier and buyer firms, is used as a framework for investigating the fair trade industry. Distinction is made between the corporate and social economy variants of the relational governance mode.

Findings

Trade Aid's commitment to producer groups is demonstrated through various initiatives the organization is undertaking as they work both with producer groups and corporate actors to expand the fair trade market. Trade Aid is part of a worldwide socially orientated movement seeking to reformulate the vision of fair trade.

Originality/value

To date the fair trade literature has largely focused on socially orientated fair trade organizations in the Northern hemisphere. This research contributes to a gap in the literature in that it examines Trade Aid and the way this organization is addressing mainstreaming.

Details

Critical perspectives on international business, vol. 8 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1742-2043

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 26 September 2008

Arlene Tuang and Christina Stringer

Emerging economies provide a challenging backdrop for the building of trusting and committed cross‐border relationships; weak legal institutions and a turbulent business…

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Abstract

Purpose

Emerging economies provide a challenging backdrop for the building of trusting and committed cross‐border relationships; weak legal institutions and a turbulent business environment necessitate such relationships between business partners to effectively cope with external instabilities. The purpose of this paper is to focus on foreign supplier‐incumbent industrial distributor relations in the emerging economy of Vietnam.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is an exploratory and expository study of relationship marketing incorporating personal experiences and the opinions of five incumbent industrial distributors in Vietnam.

Findings

Using Lewicki et al.'s multi‐dimensional conceptualization of trust (which included the dimension of distrust), this exploratory study corroborated with preceding works in identifying some of these positive consequences of trust; but diverged from this research area, by also identifying the areas of distributor distrust that marked out the constraints of the relationship. Trust and commitment was found to be context‐dependent, where the narrative of a “good relationship” was contextually bound by the individual distributors' various experiences in Vietnam.

Originality/value

This paper allows researchers and practitioners to gain an understanding of the business environment and to build a contextual picture of the challenges faced by distributors operating in Vietnam.

Details

International Journal of Emerging Markets, vol. 3 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-8809

Keywords

Abstract

Details

Annals in Social Responsibility, vol. 5 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-3515

Article
Publication date: 17 May 2021

Anna Earl

Fieldwork in emerging economies can be unpredictable and somewhat dangerous. The purpose of this article is to ascertain problematic issues that may arise when conducting…

Abstract

Purpose

Fieldwork in emerging economies can be unpredictable and somewhat dangerous. The purpose of this article is to ascertain problematic issues that may arise when conducting qualitative research in emerging economies.

Design/methodology/approach

The author reflects on her fieldwork in Russia in 2014 and 2015. Specifically, the author provides a reflection on her investigation on how the Russian government influences Russian MNEs' ability to deal with domestic institutional complexity and gain external legitimacy.

Findings

The author has encountered a number of unforeseen difficulties: the ethical dilemma, sensitivity of the topic, translation challenges and unexpected group interviews. Through this reflection, he develops specific tactics on how to deal with these circumstances when conducting research outside a Western context. He also provides recommendations on how researchers in emerging economies can deal with ethical dichotomy created by the pressure to follow ethical guidelines. Finally, he identifies a list of opportunities that Russia presents as a research site.

Research limitations/implications

The reflections on fieldwork discussed in this paper can prove to be useful for qualitative researchers interested in conducting qualitative research in Russia. In particular, it provides specific recommendations on how to navigate Russia as a research site.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the literature on issues related to methodological issues related to conducting research in emerging economies, as well as under research contexts, such as Russia.

Details

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, vol. 17 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5648

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 7 July 2020

Guillaume Delalieux and Anne-Catherine Moquet

Abstract

Details

Society and Business Review, vol. 15 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5680

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