Recently, much attention in the social sciences has been given to the study of multinational corporations. While much of this work has come from economics and political science, the conceptual tools of sociology can potentially contribute to the study of this social phenomenon.
The reason I have chosen this topic of study is to attempt to develop a sociological approach to the study of these organizations . The first task is to identify the multinational corporation as a representative entity and to clarify the subject under study. While a variety of descriptions appear in the literature, I believe the most representative is that provided by the United Nations This organization describes multinational corporations as any business concern to which the following four description statements are applicable: “A central characteristic of multinational corporations is the predominance of large-scale firms.”
More specifically, this includes firms whose annual sales range from about one billion to more than ten billion dollars. 2. “Closely related to (the first) is the predominately oligopolistic character of multinational corporations. Multinational corporations operate in and are characteristic of a market with limited numbers of buyers and sellers. Their oligopolistic character is achieved and maintained through development of new technologies and processes as well as differentiation of products and markets with substantial emphasis placed on marketing. “Another characteristic of the very large multinational corporation is their tendency to have a sizeable cluster of foreign branches and affiliates.”
The United Nations observes that multinational corporations may have affiliates and subsidiaries in one other to more than twenty other foreign countries. “A further characteristic of multinational corporations is that they are in general the product of developed countries.” The United Nations points out that the United States alone accounts for approximately a third of the total multinational corporate activity.