1st Edition

International Business, Multi-Nationals, and the Nationality of the Company

Edited By Boris Gehlen, Christian Marx, Alfred Reckendrees Copyright 2024

    This book discusses challenges that arise for multinational companies from not having a single ‘nationality’ and being exposed to a variety of simultaneous country-specific, legally, and culturally constructed nationalities at home and abroad. Brexit, America First campaigns, Russia’s war against Ukraine, or the ever-tenser relationship between China and the US have led to raising concerns about foreign direct investments. Multinational companies are pressured to withdraw from countries and reorganise global value chains. The long-held confidence that ‘nationality’ does not matter for multinational companies in the globalised economy has dwindled. Today, companies doing business abroad are exposed to implications of their ‘nationality’ because governments and customers react upon the ‘nationality’ of a firm or a product as they did in the 20th century.

    The chapters in this book address many international business domains, covering political risk, liability of foreignness, cultural distance, headquarters change, and tax planning. They use different methodological approaches to analyse European and US-based MNEs in Europe, Africa, and South-East Asia from 1900 to 1980. The book argues that ‘nationality’ is not a ghost from the past in international business, it is a topic that requires substantial consideration.

    The chapters in this book were originally published in the journal Business History.

    1. Nationality in Times of Economic and Political Turbulences

    Boris Gehlen, Christian Marx and Alfred Reckendrees


    2. International business, multinational enterprises and nationality of the company: a constructive review of literature

    Alfred Reckendrees, Boris Gehlen and Christian Marx


    3. The paradox of nationality: Foreign investment in Portuguese Africa (1890–1974)

    Álvaro Ferreira da Silva and Pedro Neves


    4. Changing corporate domicile: The case of the Rhodesian Selection Trust companies

    Simon Mollan, Billy Frank and Kevin Tennent


    5. Corporate structural change for tax avoidance: British multinational enterprises and international double taxation between the First and Second World Wars

    Ryo Izawa


    6. National conflicts in a multinational: The case of the Dutch-German AKU/VGF/Akzo, 1920s to 1970s

    Christian Marx and Ben Wubs


    7. Filling a colonial void? German business strategies and development assistance in India, 1947–1974

    Julian Faust


    8. ‘American Management’ vs ‘Swiss Labour Peace’. The closure of the Swiss Firestone factory in 1978

    Sabine Pitteloud


    9. The defence of cosmopolitan capitalism by Sir Charles Addis, 1914-1919: A microhistorical study of a classical liberal banker in wartime

    Andrew Smith and Maki Umemura


    Boris Gehlen is Professor of Business History at Stuttgart University, Germany. His areas of interest are business and financial history, history of entrepreneurship, regulation and corporate governance.

    Christian Marx is Researcher at Leibniz Institute for Contemporary History, Germany. His areas of interest are business history, corporate networks, social and economic history, financial history, and the European history of the 19th and 20th centuries.

    Alfred Reckendrees is Associate Professor for Business History at the Copenhagen Business School, Centre for Business History, Denmark. His areas of interest include entrepreneurship, corporate governance, organizational change, economic and institutional change in the 19th and 20th centuries across Europe, and the evolution and change of social orders.