- national business systems are less consistent and complementary than often assumed. Societal institutions are seen as ambiguous,
meaning that nation states might have contradictory and multiple institutional logics allowing for more heterogeneous forms
of organizing and social agency in MNCs than often assumed (Allen, 2004; Campbell, 2010; Jackson, 2010).
- MNCs both respond to institutional pressures (home and host countries) and actively challenge societal institutions by introducing
new social practices and innovative ideas (see e.g. Ferner et al., 2006).
- institutional change is both (i) a creative process, referring to the recombination of old and new social practices (bricolage)
and the need for local translation of ideas developed elsewhere, which leaves room for social agency (see e.g. Campbell, 2010),
and (ii) a socio-political process, referring to differences in power relations and political interests among key power holders
(see e.g. Geppert & Dörrenbächer, 2011).
On this basis we argue that MNCs should not be studied as unitary organizations, but should rather be seen as 'transnational
social spaces' (e.g. Morgan, 2001b) and 'contested terrains' (see Edwards & Belanger, 2009), bringing social agency back in
as both driver and outcome of institutional and intra-organizational change processes. Both collective and individual actors
have a degree of autonomy and choice. This points, on the one hand, to the ability of social agents to reinterpret and redefine
their existing institutions (Hall & Thelen, 2009).
It involves, on the other hand, perspectives that see institutional change as a process of conflicts and power struggles.
The latter sensitises us for the socio-political nature of institutional change and brings the micro- and macro-political
dimensions of social agency into the analysis of MNCs (see also Geppert & Dörrenbächer, 2011; Morgan, 2011).
Keeping with the EGOS tradition, the SWG encourages multilevel and multidirectional analysis, including micro-level agency
of actors and firms, meso- and macro-level influences and changes of sector, local, national and transnational institutions.
Our SWG explicitly encourages contributions from diverse theoretical traditions and disciplines that open new organizational
perspectives in IB. These could include, for example, organizational sociology, economic sociology, economic history, political
science as well as scholars from the fields of international management. At the same time, such a disciplinary diversity enhances
our understanding of the methodological repertoire available for organization scholars within the context of IB.