Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Embedding multinationals in postsocialist host countries: Social interaction and the compatibility of organizational interests with host-country institutions


Author Info

  • Kahancová, Marta


The internationalization of postsocialist countries brought about by the activities of multinational corporations (MNCs) has produced a growing diversity of actors capable of shaping work standards in these countries. The organizational and institutionalist literature on MNCs has concentrated only on the outcomes of such internationalization processes in terms of diffusing MNCs' organizational practices or adapting them to host-country conditions. This paper offers a theoretical and empirical scrutiny of the process through which MNCs establish and reinforce their position in host-country labor markets and societies. In particular, the focus is on how MNCs become legitimate actors in changing work standards in host-country labor markets, and how host-country actors (i.e., workers, trade unions, and the local society) become capable of shaping MNCs' organizational practices in postsocialist subsidiaries. This process is referred to as MNC embedding. Building on a qualitative case study of a Dutch MNC and its subsidiaries in Hungary and Poland, the paper theorizes and empirically documents how embedding occurs and what conditions facilitate it. It is argued that particular interaction dynamics in each MNC subsidiary studied account for the extent to which MNC embedding occurs via unilateral managerial decisions or with the involvement of local actors. Moreover, social interaction between MNCs and host-country actors facilitates institution building from below. This means that through social interaction MNCs become legitimate actors contributing to institution building in environments where broader institutional underpinnings of work practices and traditions of collective bargaining are less extensive than in continental Western Europe. -- Die Aktivitäten multinationaler Unternehmen forcieren die wirtschaftliche Internationalisierung postsozialistischer Länder. Hierdurch wächst in diesen Ländern die Vielfalt an Akteuren, die in der Lage sind, Arbeitsstandards zu entwickeln. Die organisationssoziologische und institutionalistisch orientierte Literatur zum Thema hat sich vor allem mit den Auswirkungen von Internationalisierungsprozessen auf die Verbreitung organisatorischer Praktiken der Unternehmen oder ihrer Anpassung an die Bedingungen des Aufnahmelands beschäftigt. Dieses Papier bietet nunmehr eine theoretische und empirische Untersuchung der Prozesse, durch die multinationale Konzerne ihre Position im Arbeitsmarkt und in der Gesellschaft des Aufnahmelandes finden und festigen. Das Hauptinteresse liegt auf der Frage, wie multinationale Unternehmen zu legitimen Akteuren werden, die Arbeitsstandards in postsozialistischen Beschäftigungsmärkten verändern können und wie die Akteure des Aufnahmelandes (Arbeiter, Gewerkschaften und die lokale Bevölkerung) in die Lage versetzt werden, die Praktiken dieser Unternehmen mitzugestalten. Dies wird als Prozess der Einbettung multinationaler Unternehmen gedeutet. Anhand einer qualitativen Fallstudie zu einem niederländischen Konzern und seinen Niederlassungen in Ungarn und Polen analysiert das Papier, wie es zu einer solchen Einbettung kommt und welchen Bedingungen sie unterliegt. Die Analyse zeigt, dass bestimmte Interaktionsdynamiken in allen untersuchten Niederlassungen auf unilaterale Managemententscheidungen oder die Einbeziehung lokaler Akteure zurückzuführen sind. Darüber hinaus erleichtert die soziale Interaktion zwischen Unternehmen und lokalen Akteuren die Institutionenbildung von der Basis aufwärts. Im Ergebnis werden multinationale Unternehmen durch soziale Interaktionen vor Ort zu legitimen Akteuren, die zur Institutionenbildung in einem Umfeld beitragen, in dem die Verankerung von Arbeitsstandards und Traditionen der Mitbestimmung weniger verbreitet ist als im Westen Kontinentaleuropas.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in its series MPIfG Discussion Paper with number 08/11.

as in new window
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:zbw:mpifgd:0811

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Paulstr. 3, 50676 Köln
Phone: + 49 (0) 221-2767-0
Web page:
More information through EDIRC

Related research



References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Greif, Avner & Milgrom, Paul & Weingast, Barry R, 1994. "Coordination, Commitment, and Enforcement: The Case of the Merchant Guild," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 745-76, August.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)



This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


Access and download statistics


When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:mpifgd:0811. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.