Transnational Corporations: Fragmentation Amidst Integration

By Grazia Ietto-Gillies | Go to book overview

5

Trends in the network spreadof TNCs' direct activities

The UK case

5.1Introduction

The empirical results and analysis of chapter four refer to the world's largest TNCs at a particular point in time: the year 1997. In order to be able to draw conclusions on possible changes over time in the internal network spread of companies' activities across frontiers, we need to look at indicators of trends. To this end, this chapter presents an empirical analysis for the UK over a long period of time. Two specific types of analyses will be presented here on trends. The first one assesses the location pattern and network spread of the largest UK manufacturing and mining TNCs for selected years over a period of approximately 35 years. The results and analysis are presented in sections 5.2 and 5.3.

The data set used for this part of the study is again taken from Dun and Bradstreet's (1997) Who owns Whom (WoW). The methodology used and the indices developed are the same as for chapter four. For the selected years prior to 1997, the database is not available in electronic form. This meant laborious manual deskwork in order to arrive at the various indices. 1 The magnitude of the task made it impossible to extend this study to other countries, companies or industries. For the year 1997 only, a comparative analysis by industries and sectors was also developed and the results are presented in section 5.4.

A parallel study was also made of the regional breakdown in location strategies. A considerable amount of empirical research exists on the issue of regionalisation versus globalisation (Thomsen and Woolcock, 1993; Oman, 1994; Hirst and Thompson, 1996; Kozul-Wright and Rowthorn, 1998a; Chesnais et al., 2000). The aim of this part of the study is to enable some further conclusions on this issue using the data set for the location of TNCs' affiliates from WoW as well as some macro data on the stock of UK inward and outward FDI. The choice of the UK is a particularly relevant one, as this country seems to be one of the most (or indeed the most) dichotomous in terms of strategic behaviour by its businesses - and indeed its government - in relation to the EU versus the global world. For example, Ietto-Gillies et al. (2000) find that as regards cross-border mergers, the UK

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