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Ireland's Foreign-Owned Technology Sector: Evolving Towards Sustainability?

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  • PATRICK COLLINS
  • SEAMUS GRIMES

Abstract

For some, Ireland's pursuit of an exogenous-led development model has proved to be the cornerstone of recent economic success. Others point to recent high-profile closures and argue that foreign-owned operations are attracted to Ireland solely because of the advantageous tax breaks and lucrative grants scheme offered by the Irish government. We pay tribute to both arguments by pushing the level of enquiry beyond that of supply and backward linkages to try and gauge the actual performance of affiliates themselves. This brings some interesting facets of the Irish foreign direct investment scene to light. We highlight complexity of process, attainment of broader investment remits, and the emergence of a managerial class as integral to the ability of affiliates to adapt to and exploit organisational change. By examining 10 case studies and making use of media searches and company interviews, we highlight evidence of Ireland's largest technology transnational corporation affiliates showing positive performance advances. With these movements come, what we term, increased nodal significance of Irish operations within the global production network of their corporations. We argue against policy and theories that see these movements as linear and provide evidence of how some Irish operations have leveraged control and gained significant regional and global remits that have resulted in their growing significance, both in the corporation and in the country in which they are based. In the same line we argue that embeddedness in terms of supply linkages does not fit the Irish case and instead employ the term "network anchoring" of affiliates as they increase their nodal weighting through increased mandates. Copyright (c) 2008 Copyright the Authors. Journal compilation (c) 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc..

Suggested Citation

  • Patrick Collins & Seamus Grimes, 2008. "Ireland's Foreign-Owned Technology Sector: Evolving Towards Sustainability?," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(3), pages 436-463.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:growch:v:39:y:2008:i:3:p:436-463
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