Overview: In a rapidly changing world of business, the nature and meaning of corporate nationality is in a state of flux. In this assignment you will take up the case of one international firm of your choice and ask whether its national identity carries any real meaning today. To do this, you need to select a company, research its corporate annual reports and other financial and business sources. You should look for attributes such as location of production, R&D, headquarters, workforce, product markets, ownership, assets, investment and finance. The core question here is whether the firm’s official “home” is relevant to its operations (as Tyson suggests) or irrelevant (as Reich suggests).
Your essay should be written in response to the following question, which should act as its title:
Corporate National Identity in the 21st Century: Is [FIRM] really a [NATIONALITY] company?
Corporate National Identity in the 21st Century: Is BP really a British company?
Corporate National Identity in the 21st Century: Is Huawei really a Chinese company?
Corporate National Identity in the 21st Century: Is Honda really a Japanese company?
4. Your firm today (this should make up half of the whole essay, and respond directly to the question of corporate national identity as discussed in section 2)
- Remember that the core question of corporate national identity (as debated by Reich and Tyson) was not merely whether firms conducted operations at home or abroad (these are all international firms by definition), but whether their national “home” is relevant to their business decisions and strategies. Therefore, simply listing the foreign activities of a firm does not necessarily tell us that the company is a “Reich-type” global firm, just as listing its home activities does not prove it to be a “Tyson-type” national firm. Instead, look for evidence that a firm is making decisions relating to the location of its activity that suggest a loyalty to its home country, or a reflections of its national values that can’t be explained by merely business strategy
- Good essays will show a grasp of the the Reich-Tyson debate on corporate national identity, but will supplement this with other relevant (and more recent) scholarly material, some of which you will find in the Canvas reading list.
- Good essays will also show a thorough and critical search for relevant firm data. You may use information from the firm itself (it’s website, annual reports, statements from its leaders), but remember to maintain a critical and skeptical approach to this information. Just because CEO says that his/her firm is a proud citizen of its home country, this does not mean that it is true.
- Choose a firm that will allow you to get flesh out the question of corporate national identity: make sure it is a multinational enterprise (MNE) rather than a small local firm, and make sure you can get enough data on the firm to analyse its operations in sufficient detail.
- It will be important to show some sense of the firm’s history, but avoid getting too bogged down in this. It is not necessary to give a year-by-year account of the firms history, especially if this comes at the expense of thoroughly discussing its contemporary operations.
- In determining your firm’s national identity, consider the full spectrum of its actions: supply chains, R&D, production, direct and indirect employees, ownership, headquarters, and leadership. Better responses will cover all of these aspects.
Word Limit: 1500 Words