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Introduction to Business

3.8 The Impact of Multinational Corporations

Introduction to Business3.8 The Impact of Multinational Corporations
  1. Preface
  2. 1 Understanding Economic Systems and Business
    1. Introduction
    2. 1.1 The Nature of Business
    3. 1.2 Understanding the Business Environment
    4. 1.3 How Business and Economics Work
    5. 1.4 Macroeconomics: The Big Picture
    6. 1.5 Achieving Macroeconomic Goals
    7. 1.6 Microeconomics: Zeroing in on Businesses and Consumers
    8. 1.7 Competing in a Free Market
    9. 1.8 Trends in the Business Environment and Competition
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  3. 2 Making Ethical Decisions and Managing a Socially Responsible Business
    1. Introduction
    2. 2.1 Understanding Business Ethics
    3. 2.2 How Organizations Influence Ethical Conduct
    4. 2.3 Managing a Socially Responsible Business
    5. 2.4 Responsibilities to Stakeholders
    6. 2.5 Trends in Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    9. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    10. Ethics Activity
    11. Working the Net
    12. Critical Thinking Case
    13. Hot Links Address Book
  4. 3 Competing in the Global Marketplace
    1. Introduction
    2. 3.1 Global Trade in the United States
    3. 3.2 Why Nations Trade
    4. 3.3 Barriers to Trade
    5. 3.4 Fostering Global Trade
    6. 3.5 International Economic Communities
    7. 3.6 Participating in the Global Marketplace
    8. 3.7 Threats and Opportunities in the Global Marketplace
    9. 3.8 The Impact of Multinational Corporations
    10. 3.9 Trends in Global Competition
    11. Key Terms
    12. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    13. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    14. Ethics Activity
    15. Working the Net
    16. Critical Thinking Case
    17. Hot Links Address Book
  5. 4 Forms of Business Ownership
    1. Introduction
    2. 4.1 Going It Alone: Sole Proprietorships
    3. 4.2 Partnerships: Sharing the Load
    4. 4.3 Corporations: Limiting Your Liability
    5. 4.4 Specialized Forms of Business Organization
    6. 4.5 Franchising: A Popular Trend
    7. 4.6 Mergers and Acquisitions
    8. 4.7 Trends in Business Ownership
    9. Key Terms
    10. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    11. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    12. Ethics Activity
    13. Working the Net
    14. Critical Thinking Case
    15. Hot Links Address Book
  6. 5 Entrepreneurship: Starting and Managing Your Own Business
    1. Introduction
    2. 5.1 Entrepreneurship Today
    3. 5.2 Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs
    4. 5.3 Small Business: Driving America's Growth
    5. 5.4 Ready, Set, Start Your Own Business
    6. 5.5 Managing a Small Business
    7. 5.6 Small Business, Large Impact
    8. 5.7 The Small Business Administration
    9. 5.8 Trends in Entrepreneurship and Small-Business Ownership
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  7. 6 Management and Leadership in Today's Organizations
    1. Introduction
    2. 6.1 The Role of Management
    3. 6.2 Planning
    4. 6.3 Organizing
    5. 6.4 Leading, Guiding, and Motivating Others
    6. 6.5 Controlling
    7. 6.6 Managerial Roles
    8. 6.7 Managerial Skills
    9. 6.8 Trends in Management and Leadership
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  8. 7 Designing Organizational Structures
    1. Introduction
    2. 7.1 Building Organizational Structures
    3. 7.2 Contemporary Structures
    4. 7.3 Using Teams to Enhance Motivation and Performance
    5. 7.4 Authority—Establishing Organizational Relationships
    6. 7.5 Degree of Centralization
    7. 7.6 Organizational Design Considerations
    8. 7.7 The Informal Organization
    9. 7.8 Trends in Organizational Structure
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  9. 8 Managing Human Resources and Labor Relations
    1. Introduction
    2. 8.1 Achieving High Performance through Human Resources Management
    3. 8.2 Employee Recruitment
    4. 8.3 Employee Selection
    5. 8.4 Employee Training and Development
    6. 8.5 Performance Planning and Evaluation
    7. 8.6 Employee Compensation and Benefits
    8. 8.7 The Labor Relations Process
    9. 8.8 Managing Grievances and Conflicts
    10. 8.9 Legal Environment of Human Resources and Labor Relations
    11. 8.10 Trends in Human Resource Management and Labor Relations
    12. Key Terms
    13. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    14. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    15. Ethics Activity
    16. Working the Net
    17. Critical Thinking Case
    18. Hot Links Address Book
  10. 9 Motivating Employees
    1. Introduction
    2. 9.1 Early Theories of Motivation
    3. 9.2 The Hawthorne Studies
    4. 9.3 Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
    5. 9.4 McGregor's Theories X and Y
    6. 9.5 Herzberg's Motivator-Hygiene Theory
    7. 9.6 Contemporary Views on Motivation
    8. 9.7 From Motivation Theory to Application
    9. 9.8 Trends in Employee Motivation
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  11. 10 Achieving World-Class Operations Management
    1. Introduction
    2. 10.1 Production and Operations Management—An Overview
    3. 10.2 The Production Process: How Do We Make It?
    4. 10.3 Location, Location, Location: Where Do We Make It?
    5. 10.4 Pulling It Together: Resource Planning
    6. 10.5 Production and Operations Control
    7. 10.6 Looking for a Better Way: Improving Production and Operations
    8. 10.7 Transforming the Factory Floor with Technology
    9. 10.8 Trends in Production and Operations Management
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  12. 11 Creating Products and Pricing Strategies to Meet Customers' Needs
    1. Introduction
    2. 11.1 The Marketing Concept
    3. 11.2 Creating a Marketing Strategy
    4. 11.3 Developing a Marketing Mix
    5. 11.4 Buyer Behavior
    6. 11.5 Market Segmentation
    7. 11.6 What Is a Product?
    8. 11.7 Creating Products That Deliver Value
    9. 11.8 The Product Life Cycle
    10. 11.9 Pricing Strategies and Future Trends
    11. 11.10 Trends in Developing Products and Pricing
    12. Key Terms
    13. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    14. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    15. Ethics Activity
    16. Working the Net
    17. Critical Thinking Case
    18. Hot Links Address Book
  13. 12 Distributing and Promoting Products and Services
    1. Introduction
    2. 12.1 The Nature and Functions of Distribution (Place)
    3. 12.2 Wholesaling
    4. 12.3 The Competitive World of Retailing
    5. 12.4 Using Supply Chain Management to Increase Efficiency and Customer Satisfaction
    6. 12.5 Promotion Strategy
    7. 12.6 The Huge Impact of Advertising
    8. 12.7 The Importance of Personal Selling
    9. 12.8 Sales Promotion
    10. 12.9 Public Relations Helps Build Goodwill
    11. 12.10 Trends in Social Media
    12. 12.11 Trends in E-Commerce
    13. Key Terms
    14. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    15. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    16. Ethics Activity
    17. Working the Net
    18. Critical Thinking Case
    19. Hot Links Address Book
  14. 13 Using Technology to Manage Information
    1. Introduction
    2. 13.1 Transforming Businesses through Information
    3. 13.2 Linking Up: Computer Networks
    4. 13.3 Management Information Systems
    5. 13.4 Technology Management and Planning
    6. 13.5 Protecting Computers and Information
    7. 13.6 Trends in Information Technology
    8. Key Terms
    9. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    10. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    11. Ethics Activity
    12. Working the Net
    13. Critical Thinking Case
    14. Hot Links Address Book
  15. 14 Using Financial Information and Accounting
    1. Introduction
    2. 14.1 Accounting: More than Numbers
    3. 14.2 The Accounting Profession
    4. 14.3 Basic Accounting Procedures
    5. 14.4 The Balance Sheet
    6. 14.5 The Income Statement
    7. 14.6 The Statement of Cash Flows
    8. 14.7 Analyzing Financial Statements
    9. 14.8 Trends in Accounting
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  16. 15 Understanding Money and Financial Institutions
    1. Introduction
    2. 15.1 Show Me the Money
    3. 15.2 The Federal Reserve System
    4. 15.3 U.S. Financial Institutions
    5. 15.4 Insuring Bank Deposits
    6. 15.5 International Banking
    7. 15.6 Trends in Financial Institutions
    8. Key Terms
    9. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    10. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    11. Ethics Activity
    12. Working the Net
    13. Critical Thinking Case
    14. Hot Links Address Book
  17. 16 Understanding Financial Management and Securities Markets
    1. Introduction
    2. 16.1 The Role of Finance and the Financial Manager
    3. 16.2 How Organizations Use Funds
    4. 16.3 Obtaining Short-Term Financing
    5. 16.4 Raising Long-Term Financing
    6. 16.5 Equity Financing
    7. 16.6 Securities Markets
    8. 16.7 Buying and Selling at Securities Exchanges
    9. 16.8 Trends in Financial Management and Securities Markets
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  18. 17 Your Career in Business
    1. Introduction
    2. 17.1 Learn the Basics of Business
    3. 17.2 Developing Interpersonal Skills Is Key to Your Success
    4. 17.3 Make Your Future Happen: Learn to Plan
    5. 17.4 Going to College Is an Opportunity of a Lifetime—Never Drop Out
    6. 17.5 Get Your Career Off on the Right Track
    7. 17.6 Self-Test Scoring Guidelines
  19. A | Understanding the Legal and Tax Environment
  20. Index
  21. References
  1. What are the advantages of multinational corporations?

Corporations that move resources, goods, services, and skills across national boundaries without regard to the country in which their headquarters are located are multinational corporations. Some are so rich and have so many employees that they resemble small countries. For example, the sales of both Exxon and Walmart are larger than the GDP of all but a few nations in the world. Multinational companies are heavily engaged in international trade. The successful ones take political and cultural differences into account.

Many global brands sell much more outside the United States than at home. Coca-Cola, Philip Morris’s Marlboro brand, Pepsi, Kellogg, Pampers, Nescafe, and Gillette, are examples.

The Fortune 500 made over $1.5 trillion in profit in 2016. In slow-growing, developed economies like Europe and Japan, a weaker dollar helps, because it means cheaper products to sell into those markets, and profits earned in those markets translate into more dollars back home. Meanwhile, emerging markets in Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe are growing steadily. General Electric expects 60 percent of its revenue growth to come from emerging markets over the next decade. For Brown-Forman, the spirits company, a fifth of its sales growth of Jack Daniels, the Tennessee whiskey, is coming from developing markets like Mexico and Poland. IBM had rapid sales growth in emerging markets such as Russia, India, and Brazil.38

The largest multinational corporations in the world are shown in Table 3.3.

Despite the success of American multinationals abroad, there is some indication that preference for U.S. brands may be slipping.

Exhibit 3.7 As overseas investment grows, so does the need for global branding. The Wisconsin National Guard picked NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo to be the face of its recruiting and marketing effort. Recognizable to NBA fans the world over, Antetokounmpo personifies a youthful, dynamic spirit that transcends cultural and geographic boundaries. Why is it increasingly important that multinational advertisers identify and sign celebrity spokespersons capable of bridging different cultures? (Credit: Erik Drost/ Flickr/ Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0))

The Multinational Advantage

Large multinationals have several advantages over other companies. For instance, multinationals can often overcome trade problems. Taiwan and South Korea have long had an embargo against Japanese cars for political reasons and to help domestic automakers. Yet Honda USA, a Japanese-owned company based in the United States, sends Accords to Taiwan and Korea. In another example, when the environmentally conscious Green movement challenged the biotechnology research conducted by BASF, a major German chemical and drug manufacturer, BASF moved its cancer and immune-system research to Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Another advantage for multinationals is their ability to sidestep regulatory problems. U.S. drugmaker SmithKline and Britain’s Beecham decided to merge in part so that they could avoid licensing and regulatory hassles in their largest markets. The merged company can say it’s an insider in both Europe and the United States. “When we go to Brussels, we’re a member state [of the European Union],” one executive explains. “And when we go to Washington, we’re an American company.”

A photograph shows a large television with a concave screen. Above the television display is a sign that reads, Samsung U H D, the world's first curved U H D T V.
Exhibit 3.8 South Korea’s Samsung is a leading manufacturer of giant high-definition TVs. Samsung produces the largest curved ultra-high-definition (UHD) screens for the worldwide home-theater market. Samsung’s monster 110-inch curved UHD screen is among the world’s largest such screens. Unfortunately, for most of the world’s consumers, the giant Samsung TVs can be too costly, but the 88-inch version can be purchased for under $20,000. How does being a multinational corporation enable Samsung to succeed in the high-end electronics market? (Credit: Chris F/ Flickr/ Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0))

Multinationals can also shift production from one plant to another as market conditions change. When European demand for a certain solvent declined, Dow Chemical instructed its German plant to switch to manufacturing a chemical that had been imported from Louisiana and Texas. Computer models help Dow make decisions like these so it can run its plants more efficiently and keep costs down.

The World’s Top 11 Largest Multinational Corporations
RANK RANK COMPANY Revenues ($M) Home Country
1 Walmart $482,130 United States
2 State Grid $329,601 China
3 China National Petroleum $299,271 China
4 Sinopec Group $294,344 China
5 Royal Dutch Shell $272,156 Netherlands
6 Exxon Mobil $246,204 United States
7 Volkswagen $236,600 Germany
8 Toyota Motor $236,592 Japan
9 Apple $233,715 United States
10 BP $225,982 United Kingdom
11 Berkshire Hathaway $210,821 United States
Table 3.3 Source: Adapted from “The World’s Largest Corporations,” Fortune http://fortune.com/global500/, accessed June 30, 2017.

Expanding Around the Globe

U.S. Brands Face Global Competition

America is the cradle of the consumer goods brand. Here, a free-spending and marketing-saturated public nurtured Apple, Google, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, and countless others to maturity. Many of those brands grew up to conquer other societies, as well.

But American brands’ domination in the global marketplace is eroding. From Samsung to Toyota to Mercedes Benz to SAP, companies in Europe and Asia are turning out top-quality goods and selling them as such rather than competing on price. “There are longer-term trends toward greater competition. The United States was the only global brand country [but] that’s no longer the case,” says Earl L. Taylor, chief marketing officer of the Marketing Science Institute. “Consumers prefer brands that they take to be of higher quality” regardless of the country of origin, he notes. “Increasingly, there will be other successful global brands in the U.S. [market].”

Of the brands at the top of Interbrand’s recent list of the world’s most valuable, four of the top five still originate in the United States; the five most valuable are Apple, Google, Coca-Cola, and Microsoft, while Toyota (Japan) comes in at number five. American companies have lost the most ground in the middle tier of recognizable brand names, says George T. Haley, professor of marketing at the University of New Haven’s School of Business.

One area from which U.S. brands are feeling the pressure is the Asia-Pacific region, which harbors the fastest-growing emerging markets today. In the appliance category, two Chinese companies, Haier and Kelon, are becoming top competitors for well-known U.S. brands Whirlpool and Maytag. In fact, Haier bought GE’s appliance division in 2016. The Chinese branding trend is not confined only to hard goods. Sporting goods and sportswear brand Li Ning, well known within China, is building its international profile. While the Chinese basketball team wore Nike uniforms at the Athens Olympic Games, the Spanish team wore Li Ning apparel. The threat to U.S. brands is not confined to China, however. South Korean brands, such as Samsung, LG, and Hyundai, have emerged on the global stage in specific categories, such as smartphones, household appliances, and automobiles.

The animosity that many Europeans feel toward the United States is translated into a preference for European or even Asian brands at the expense of U.S. brands. Plus, experts say, European brands are simply becoming stronger and more consistent.

Meanwhile, European brands are gaining momentum in the areas of white goods and consumer goods, putting the pressure on such well-known U.S. brands as Bissell and Hoover, experts say. For instance, Gaggenau is a popular, high-end European kitchen appliance brand, along with Bosch and Dyson. Other European brands maintaining cachet—if not always the allure of luxury—include Absolut, Virgin, Mini (as in Cooper), Red Bull, and Ikea.

Critical Thinking Questions
  1. What can U.S. multinational firms do to regain and maintain their leadership in global branding? Are there sectors and product areas where U.S. brands are gaining share?
  2. Do you think that the quality of American products and services is declining, or that the rest of the world is just getting better? Explain your answer.

Sources: “Interbrand: Best Global Brands 2016 Rankings,” http://interbrand.com, accessed June 30, 2017; Vasileios Davvetas and Adamantios Diamantopoulos (2016), “How Product Category Shapes Preferences toward Global and Local Brands: A Schema Theory Perspective,” Journal of International Marketing, 24 (4), 61–81; Deborah Vence, “Not Taking Care of Business?” Marketing News, March 15, 2005, pp. 19–20.

Multinationals can also tap new technology from around the world. In the United States, Xerox has introduced some 80 different office copiers that were designed and built by Fuji Xerox, its joint venture with a Japanese company. Versions of the super-concentrated detergent that Procter & Gamble first formulated in Japan in response to a rival’s product are now being sold under the Ariel brand name in Europe and under the Cheer and Tide labels in the United States. Also, consider Otis Elevator’s development of the Elevonic 411, an elevator that is programmed to send more cars to floors where demand is high. It was developed by six research centers in five countries. Otis’s group in Farmington, Connecticut, handled the systems integration, a Japanese group designed the special motor drives that make the elevators ride smoothly, a French group perfected the door systems, a German group handled the electronics, and a Spanish group took care of the small-geared components. Otis says the international effort saved more than $10 million in design costs and cut the process from four years to two.

Finally, multinationals can often save a lot in labor costs, even in highly unionized countries. For example, when Xerox started moving copier-rebuilding work to Mexico to take advantage of the lower wages, its union in Rochester, New York, objected because it saw that members’ jobs were at risk. Eventually, the union agreed to change work styles and to improve productivity to keep the jobs at home.

Concept Check

  1. What is a multinational corporation?
  2. What are the advantages of multinationals?
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