The Reproduction of Inertia in Multinational Corporations

  • Martin Kilduff


How do the members of a multinational organization organize themselves each day to replicate the interconnections, the hierarchies, the problems and the routines with which they are familiar? It would be a mistake to assume that the taken-for-granted structures of everyday life such as interpersonal relationships, chains of command and exchange networks are re-formed effortlessly each day. In any large complex organization, such communicative structures only survive through constant use. Part of the use may be maintenance, as when friends telephone each other merely to ‘touch base’ rather than to exchange information. This skilled task of social reproduction is all the more difficult in the case of the MNC because it must be accomplished across national frontiers and cultural differences. In an MNC operating across many national borders with a variety of loosely coupled subsidiaries, a large amount of resources may have to be devoted simply to keeping routines and other structured behaviors reliable from day to day. Organizational inertia, from this perspective, is achieved only at great effort and cost (see, e.g., Hannan and Freeman 1984, p. 152).


Structuration Theory Structuration Perspective Competent Speaker Multinational Organization Organizational Inertia 
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© Macmillan Publishers Limited 1993

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  • Martin Kilduff

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