Cover Page




Title Page



List of Illustrations

Notes on Contributors


Chapter 1: Global Companies as Actors in Global Policy and Governance


The State Is Not Yet Dead and the Market Is Not “in Charge”

The Dominance of Global Companies

The Geopolitics of Global Companies

Global Companies as Relational Actors

The Organization of This Handbook


Part I: Locating Global Companies

Chapter 2: The Global Company


Globalized Businesses?

Globalizing through Non-Equity Modes

The Global Company

New Global Challengers



Chapter 3: The National Identity of Global Companies


The Diversity and National Context of Multinationals

Comparison of National Context: Varieties of Capitalism

From National to Global Partnerships?

The Multinational Corporation as a Political System

National and Global Identities



Chapter 4: Big Business in the BRICs


A Framework

Big Business in the BRICs…before They Knew They Were the BRICs

Ownership, Structure, Strategy, and Governance in the Twenty-First Century

The Challenges Ahead



Part II: Global Companies and Power

Chapter 5: Theorizing the Power of Global Companies


Analyzing and Debating the Power of (Global) Companies

Dimensions of the Power of Global Companies

Developments in the Power of Global Companies

Conclusion: Normative Foundations of the Power of Global Companies


Chapter 6: Why, When, and How Global Companies Get Organized


Coherence and Disaggregation, and the Notion of Spheres

Public Authority

Civil Society and Corporate Power






Chapter 7: How Governments Mediate the Structural Power of International Business


Structural Power Arguments and the Question of Agency

Constructivism and Institutionalism

Australian Economic Policy and the Power of Financial Markets

How the UK Government Withstood the Structural Power of the City



Chapter 8: How Global Companies Wield Their Power


Analyzing Discursive Power

Global Business Networks on Sustainable Development

The Discursive Shaping of Sustainable Development

Discourse-Inherent Rules and the Limits of Business's Discursive Power



Part III: Global Companies and the State

Chapter 9: How Global Companies Make National Regulations



Mechanisms of Influence

Pharmaceutical and Petroleum Industry Examples



Chapter 10: Making Government More “Business-Like”


Managerial Expertise and Institutional Isomorphism

The Historical Development of Management Consultancy

Management Consultants and Public-Sector Reform



Chapter 11: East Asian Development States and Global Companies as Partners of Techno-Industrial Competitiveness


The Structural Power of Global Companies and the Transformative Power of States

The State as Midwife in the Creation of the National Telecommunications Sector

The State and Chaebol as Equal Partners in the Promotion of New Technological Growth Sectors

Discussion: The Evolution of Cooperation between the State and the Chaebol



Chapter 12: Varieties of the Regulatory State and Global Companies


China in Need of Going beyond Laissez-Faire Regulatory Capitalism

Rationale 1: To Bring Prices Down and/or to Ensure Availability of Products/Services

Rationale 2: To Relocate Industries to Central/Western China and/or to Upgrade Technological Level

Rationale 3: To Improve Chinese Companies' Quality Control and/or to Build Investor Confidence

Rationale 4: To Let Chinese Companies Participate in the Making of Dominant Technical Standards for the World Market



Chapter 13: Global Companies and Emerging Market Countries


MNCs and State Sovereignty



Part IV: Global Companies and International Organizations

Chapter 14: Regulating Global Corporate Capitalism


A Short Historical Overview

Corporate Self-Regulation

Supranational Regulation

The Emergence of New Governance Institutions



Chapter 15: Global Companies as Agenda Setters in the World Trade Organization


Classic Trade Policy Lobbying: Protectionism vs. Liberalization

Companies as Agenda-Setters: Service Trade and Intellectual Property

Failure to Influence Effectively: Investment and Textiles

Direct Lobbying at the WTO

Business vs. Civil Society?



Chapter 16: Business Interests Shaping International Institutions


The Creation of the TPP

Obtaining Feedback through Comment Periods

The Stakeholder Process

Specific Issues of Concern to Business in the TPP


Australian Industry Approaches to the TPP Negotiations



Chapter 17: Global Companies and the Environment


The “Environment”: From Existential Threat to Business Opportunity

The “Environment” as Competitive Advantage

The Triumph of TNCs in Global Environmental Governance

From “Regulating” TNCs to “Regulating TNCs”



Chapter 18: Global Companies, the Bretton Woods Institutions, and Global Inequality


Official Export Credit Agencies

Firms That Use ECAs

Debt Rescheduling, Structural Adjustment Policies, and New Debt



Chapter 19: Outsourcing Global Governance: Public-Private Voluntary Initiatives


Voluntary Codes in Global Governance

What Makes Companies Engage?

Does It Work?



Part V: Global Companies and Society

Chapter 20: Global Companies and Global Society


The American Models

The Globalization of Business and Society

The Evolution of the Global Social Contract



Chapter 21: Global Companies as Social Actors


Global Governance and Global Companies

Global Companies as Social Actors

The Double Contingency of Situations and (Corporate) Aims

The Construction of Global Companies in Global Governance

Illustration I: CSR Commitment as an Expression of New Social Expectations

Illustration II: The Unsuccessful Handling and Translation of New Expectations by Shell in the Nigerian Crisis in the 1990s



Chapter 22: The Socially Embedded Corporation


What Does It Mean for Companies to Be “Socially Embedded”?

Competing Normative Demands on Global Companies

Competing Channels of Social Influence over Global Companies



Chapter 23: Ecological Modernization and Industrial Ecology


Are We Witnessing Ecological Modernization?

International Companies and Ecological Impact: Organization and Material Flows



Part VI: The Exercise and Limitations of Private Global Governance

Chapter 24: Global Companies as Agents of Globalization


Transformers of Consumption, Production, and Demand for Regulation

Influencers of Public Rule-Making Processes

Private Standard Setters and Rule Makers

Carriers of Global Standards

Public-Private Partnerships

Private-Private Partnerships



Chapter 25: The Greening of Capitalism


Global Companies as Principal Beneficiaries of Business as Usual

The BAU Paradigm Now Running up against Limits

Global Companies Feel Pressures to Green Their Strategies

Capitalism Will Be Greened Not by Companies Acting Alone but via Blocs, Transvections

A Neo-Schumpeterian Framework of Techno-Economic Paradigm Shifts

China's GG Strategy Followed by Korea's GG Strategy

Three Perspectives



Chapter 26: Global Companies and the Private Regulation of Global Labor Standards


The Emergence of Private Labor Standards

The Effectiveness of Private Labor Standard-Setting

The Future of Private Labor Standard-Setting



Chapter 27: Global Private Governance


Theoretical and Methodological Approach

Major Developments in the Global Mining Industry

Evidence from the Global Mining Industry

Explanation of Unilateral CSR Adoption: Noranda, Placer Dome, and Barrick

Explanation of Collaborative Global Private Governance Initiatives



Chapter 28: Will Business Save the World?


The Civil Corporation Revisited

Coming in from the Cold

Stuck in the Valley of Death

The Life and Times of Civil Regulation

Towards an Extensive Accountability

Towards a Public Fiduciary




Handbook of Global Policy Series

Series Editor
David Held
Master of University College and Professor of Politics and International Relations at Durham University

The Handbook of Global Policy series presents a comprehensive collection of the most recent scholarship and knowledge about global policy and governance. Each Handbook draws together newly commissioned essays by leading scholars and is presented in a style which is sophisticated but accessible to undergraduate and advanced students, as well as scholars, practitioners, and others interested in global policy. Available in print and online, these volumes expertly assess the issues, concepts, theories, methodologies, and emerging policy proposals in the field.


The Handbook of Global Climate and Environment Policy
Robert Falkner

The Handbook of Global Energy Policy
Andreas Goldthau

The Handbook of Global Companies
John Mikler

Title Page

For Kara, Annika, and Erin

List of Illustrations


4.1 BRIC companies in Fortune Global 500

9.1 A simplified spectrum of regulation

12.1 Varieties of Chinese regulatory capitalism across the 100 largest global companies


2.1 The ten economically largest countries and enterprises, 2010

2.2 The ten most internationalized developed country MNEs, 1995 and 2010

2.3 The ten most internationalized developing country MNEs, 1995 and 2009

3.1 Transnationality index for countries, 2005

3.2 National distribution of large corporations

4.1 BRIC companies in Fortune Global 500

4.2 Data on big business in the BRIC

4.3 Top 100 companies’ sales in the BRICs, by ownership

4.4 Varieties of state capitalism in China

4.5 CEOs in the United States, Brazil, India, and China

4.6 The quality of management in Brazil, India, and China

4.7 Boards of directors in the BRICs

8.1 WBCSD and econsense

10.1 European consulting market, 2010

12.1 Conflicting features of Chinese regulations

18.1 ECA supported global companies

21.1 Sub-categories for corporate participation in CSR and their keywords

26.1 Overview of private standard organizations

Notes on Contributors

Caner Bakir is Assistant Professor in the International Relations Department at Koc University, Istanbul, Turkey. He has worked as an Assistant Lecturer in the Accounting and Finance Department at Monash University, Melbourne. Prior to this, he worked as a banking specialist. His areas of research include institutional analysis, public policy, globalization, and governance. His work has been published in a number of leading journals including Governance and Public Administration and he has published a book with Bilgi University Press. His researches have been supported by the Scientific & Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) and COST ACTION ISO905 (European Cooperation in Science and Technology). Bakir received the Incentive Award in Political Science awarded by TUBITAK in 2010.

Stephen Bell is Professor and former Head of the School of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Queensland. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia. His recent books include The Rise of the People’s Bank of China: The Institutional Development of China’s Financial and Monetary System and Rethinking Governance: The Centrality of the State in Modern Society. He is currently working on two Australian Research Council funded projects, one on banking reform in China and the other on the performance of banks in the global financial crisis.

Patrick Bernhagen is Professor of Political Science at Zeppelin University, Germany, and Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom. His main research interests are the political participation of citizens and firms as well as their strategies and success in gaining political influence. He is the author of The Political Power of Business: Structure and Information in Public Policymaking (2007) and co-editor (with Christian Haerpfer, Ronald Inglehart, and Chris Welzel) of Democratization (2009).

Pamela Blackmon is Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science at Penn State Altoona. Her research focuses on the policies of the international financial institutions, and she is currently examining the role of export credit agencies in international trade and finance. Her articles have been published in International Studies Review, Women’s Studies, and Central Asian Survey, in addition to various book chapters including a review essay in volume VI of the International Studies Encyclopedia. Her first book, In the Shadow of Russia: Reform in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, was published in 2011.

Frank Boons is Associate Professor in the Department of Public Administration at Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and Director of the off-campus PhD program on Cleaner Production, Cleaner Products, Industrial Ecology and Sustainability. He is subject editor, Governance of Material and Energy Flows, of the Journal of Cleaner Production.

Sherri Brown has a PhD in Political Science from McMaster University, and was a 2007–2011 Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholar and SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholar, with a research specialization in political economy and global health policy. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California–San Francisco, with the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education and the Cardiovascular Research Institute. Her current research explores the roles and impacts of tobacco, food and beverage, and alcohol companies in health policy processes in low- and middle-income countries.

Tanja Br¨hl is Professor of Political Science at Goethe–University Frankfurt, focusing on international institutions and peace processes. Her main areas of research include global governance; peace and conflict studies; and international environmental politics. Notable publications are, inter alia: Nichtregierungsorganisationen als Akteure internationaler Umweltverhandlungen (2003), and “Representing the People? NGOs in International Negotiations,” in Kristina Hahn and Jens Steffek (eds), Evaluating Transnational NGOs: Legitimacy, Accountability, Representation (2010).

Cantay Caliskan is a graduate student in the Department of International Relations at Koc University, Istanbul, Turkey. His main research interests are political economy, the politics of Cyprus, and renewable energy.

Hevina S. Dashwood is Associate Professor of Political Science at Brock University, Canada. Dashwood’s broad research interests encompass private global governance, corporate social responsibility (CSR), and international development. Dashwood’s current research program is concerned with CSR adoption in the global mining sector, the dissemination of global standards specific to mining and the translation of global CSR standards at the local level in the developing country context. Dashwood has numerous book chapters and articles in peer-review journals related to CSR and mining, including Canadian Journal of Political Science, Canadian Journal of Development Studies, Business and Society Review, and Business and Society (forthcoming). Dashwood's recent book is The Rise of Global Corporate Social Responsibility: Mining and the Spread of Global Norms (2012).

Deborah Elms is Head, Temasek Foundation Centre for Trade and Negotiations and Senior Fellow of International Political Economy at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Dr Elms participates in teaching, research, and networking. Her research interests are negotiations and decision-making, particularly in trade. She also conducts a range of teaching and training for government officials from around Asia, for members of parliament, for business leaders, and for graduate students. She has provided consulting to the governments of Abu Dhabi, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Taiwan, and Singapore on a range of trade issues. Dr Elms received a PhD in political science from the University of Washington, an MA in International Relations from the University of Southern California, and a BA and BS from Boston University in international relations and journalism.

Matthias Finger holds a PhD in Political Science and a PhD in Adult Education from the University of Geneva. He has been an Assistant Professor at Syracuse University (New York), an Associate Professor at Columbia University (New York), and a Full Professor of Management of Public Enterprises at the Swiss Federal Institute of Public Administration. Since 2002, he holds the Chair of Management of Network Industries at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale in Lausanne, Switzerland. Since 2010 he has also been a part-time Professor at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, where he directs the Florence School of Regulation’s Transport Area. His main research interest is on the liberalization, re-regulation, and governance of infrastructures in the transport, energy, and communications sectors. He is the co-editor-in-chief of the journal Competition and Regulation in Network Industries.

Ann Florini is Professor of Public Policy, School of Social Sciences, Singapore Management University. She is also Non-resident Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. She is internationally recognized as an authority on new approaches to global governance, focusing on the roles of information flows, civil society, and the private sector in addressing global issues. Her books include China Experiments: From Local Innovation to National Reform (with Hairong Lai and Yeling Tan, 2012); The Right to Know: Transparency for an Open World (2007); The Coming Democracy: New Rules for Running a New World (2003; 2005); and The Third Force: The Rise of Transnational Civil Society (2000). She has published numerous scholarly and policy articles in such journals as Energy Policy, Global Governance, Global Policy, International Security, International Studies Quarterly, and Foreign Policy. Dr Florini received her PhD in Political Science from UCLA and a Masters in Public Affairs from Princeton University.

Luc Fransen is Assistant Professor at the Institute for Public Administration at Leiden University and Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute. He recently published his monograph Corporate Social Responsibility and Global Labor Standards (2012) and has published research articles in amongst others Socio-Economic Review, Governance, Organization, and Review of International Political Economy. His research focuses on the transnational governance of social and environmental standards, international labor policy, corporate social responsibility, and the strategies of civil society organizations.

Doris Fuchs is Professor of International Relations and Development at the University of Muenster, Germany. Her primary areas of research are corporate structural and discursive power, private governance, sustainable development/consumption, and food politics and policy. Among her publications are Business Power in Global Governance and An Institutional Basis for Environmental Stewardship, as well as articles in peer-reviewed journals such as Millennium, Global Environmental Politics, Business and Politics, International Interactions, Journal on Consumer Policy, Agriculture and Human Values, Food Policy, and Energy Policy.

Andrea Goldstein is the Senior Economic Affairs Officer at the Office for East and Northeast Asia of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. He is on leave from the OECD, where he served in various capacities, including as Deputy Director of the Heiligendamm L’Aquila Process (the G8–G5 political dialogue) Support Unit. Andrea also worked at the World Bank Group and studied at Bocconi, Columbia, and Sussex Universities. He has published widely on emerging economies – including BRIC (2011), emerging multinationals, including Multinational Companies from Emerging Economies: Composition, Conceptualization and Direction in the Global Economy (2007, 2009) – and the impact of the emergence of China and India on other developing countries. He has published in refereed journals, including the Asian Development Review, Business History, Cambridge Journal of Economics, CEPAL Review, Industrial and Corporate Change, Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, Journal of World Business, Transnational Corporations, and The World Economy. He has also published op-eds in the Financial Times, Helsingin Sanomat, Le Monde, South China Morning Post, La Repubblica, and Corriere della Sera. He is a frequent contributor to

Matthias Hofferberth is Assistant Professor for International Relations at the University of Texas, San Antonio. His research and teaching interests lie in the fields of global governance and multinational enterprises, as well as in international relations theory and norms. His recent publication is “The Binding Dynamics of Non-Binding Governance Arrangements: The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights and the Cases of BP and Chevron,” Business and Politics, 13 (4), 2011.

Sung-Young Kim is Lecturer in the Department of Political Studies at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. His expertise is industry strategy in East Asia and his work has been published in a number of prestigious journals including Review of International Political Economy and New Political Economy. He is currently working on a book project entitled Telecommunications Inc.: Korea’s Challenge to Qualcomm, while also undertaking research on Green Growth strategies in East Asia.

Nina Kolleck is a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer for sustainability governance at the Departments of Political and Educational Sciences and Psychology at the Freie Universität Berlin in Germany. She studied Political Science, Economics, and Public Law in Potsdam (Germany), Caen (France), and Quito (Ecuador) and holds a PhD in Political Science from the Freie Universität Berlin.

Sarianna M. Lundan holds the Chair in International Management and Governance at the University of Bremen in Germany. She received her PhD from Rutgers University (United States), and has held prior appointments at the University of Reading (United Kingdom), and at Maastricht University (The Netherlands). She is an Associate Research Fellow at the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy (ETLA) in Helsinki, and a founding member of the Center for Transnational Studies (ZenTra), a joint initiative of the Universities of Bremen and Oldenburg. She has published widely in journals and books, and has co-authored with John H. Dunning the second edition of Multinational Enterprises and the Global Economy, which has become an influential reference work in the field of international business. She has also participated extensively in the work of UNCTAD in connection with the World Investment Reports and the Investment Policy Reviews. She is an elected Fellow of the European International Business Academy (EIBA), and serves on several editorial boards, including the Journal of International Business Studies, Multinational Business Review, and the Global Strategy Journal. Her current research interests focus on the co-evolution of multinational enterprises and the institutional environment in which they operate.

Kate Macdonald is a Lecturer at the University of Melbourne, having held previous positions at the London School of Economics and Political Science, the Australian National University, and Oxford University. Her research focuses on the politics of transnational production and business, with a particular focus on social, labor, and human rights regulation of global business.

John A. Mathews is Professor of Strategic Management at Macquarie Graduate School of Management, Macquarie University, Sydney. He is concurrently Eni Chair of Competitive Dynamics and Global Strategy at LUISS Guido Carli University, Rome. He is the author of several books including Strategizing, Disequilibrium and Profit (2006), Dragon Multinational: A New Model of Global Growth (2002), and Tiger Technology: The Creation of a Semiconductor Industry in East Asia (2000), this latter appearing in a Chinese translation. His most recent contribution to the debate over future directions for strategy and entrepreneurship studies is his paper “Lachmannian Insights into Strategic Entrepreneurship: Resources, Activities and Routines in a Disequilibrium World,” published in the journal Organization Studies in February 2010. Professor Mathews’ research has increasingly focused on the interrelated topics of low-carbon economy, renewable energy and the industrial dynamics of transition away from fossil-fueled systems; on industrial clusters and networked development; and on the rise of China in the global economy. Papers addressing these topics recently published include “China’s Moves towards Adopting a Circular Economy” in Journal of Industrial Ecology; and “Mobilizing Private Financing to Drive an Energy Industrial Revolution” in Energy Policy. A book-length treatment of the Next Great Transformation: The Greening of Capitalism, is currently under review. Prior to this latest emphasis, his research focused on the internationalization of firms from the periphery, taking advantage of opportunities created by globalization, and expounded in such publications as those related to “Dragon Multinationals,” and on patterns of technological learning in the newly industrializing countries of East Asia, with emphasis first on high-tech industries like semiconductors and flat panel displays, and latterly on renewable energies and solar photovoltaic systems.

John Mikler is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney. His research interests are primarily focused on the role of transnational economic actors, particularly multinational corporations, and the interaction between them and states, international organizations, and civil society. He is the author of Greening the Car Industry: Varieties of Capitalism and Climate Change (2009), and has published widely in journals including Business and Politics, Regulation and Governance, Global Society, Policy and Society, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, and New Political Economy.

Terry O’Callaghan is a Senior Lecturer at the University of South Australia. His research focuses on political risk in mining and infrastructure sectors, primarily in the Asia-Pacific region. He is Director of the Centre for International Risk at UniSA and has an interest in the study of multinational corporations. He is currently finishing a book on reputation risk.

Tony Porter is Professor of Political Science at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada. His books include Globalization and Finance (2005), Technology, Governance and Political Conflict in International Industries (2002), Private Authority in International Affairs (1999), co-edited, with A. Claire Cutler and Virginia Haufler, and The Challenges of Global Business Authority: Democratic Renewal, Stalemate, or Decay? (2010), co-edited with Karsten Ronit. He is currently co-authoring, with Heather McKeen-Edwards, Transnational Financial Associations and the Governance of Global Finance: Assembling Power and Wealth.

Denis Saint-Martin is an expert in public administration and policy. Since 2008, he has been the director of the European Union Centre of Excellence at the Université de Montréal and McGill University. His research interests deal with the regulation of ethics in politics, continuity and institutional change, new public management, and the politics of expertise. In 2005, he was a Fulbright scholar at the Kennedy School of Government and before that was a policy advisor in the Office of the Prime Minister of Canada.

Shana M. Starobin is a PhD candidate at the Nicholas School of the Environment and a Graduate Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University. Her most recent publication, “The Search for Credible Information in Social and Environmental Global Governance: The Kosher Label,”appears in the journal Business and Politics. Her current research interests include the transnational regulation of food and agriculture and its implications for rural livelihoods and the environment. She received her A.B. magna cum laude from Harvard College, and she completed a joint Masters in Public Policy and Environmental Management at Duke.

Marianne Thissen-Smits is a PhD candidate in Politics and International Relations at the University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom. Her research focuses on corporate social responsibility of transnational firms in a cross-country perspective. Prior to her PhD studies she worked as an Inspector for Health, Safety, and the Environment for the Dutch Mining Authorities and as a consultant for UNICEF (Kazakhstan), Shell (Oman), and Delta Environmental Logistics (Nigeria).

Vlado Vivoda is a Research Fellow at Griffith Asia Institute, Griffith University, in Brisbane, Australia. He has published widely on the topics related to the international political economy of extractive industries. His current research focus is on the political economy of mining and energy sectors, and on energy security in the Asia-Pacific region.

Hinrich Voss is a Roberts Academic Research Fellow at the Centre for International Business University of Leeds (CIBUL). He is interested in the international business strategies of multinational enterprises (MNEs) from developed and developing countries. Within this context he researches the internationalization and the international competitiveness of mainland Chinese companies. This research strand incorporates the influence of China’s institutions on the international investment behavior of Chinese firms. He is also interested in how emerging market MNEs are affected by climate change policies and the institutional objectives to move towards. His research has been published in the Journal of International Business Studies, Management International Review, International Business Review, and the Chinese Academy of Social Science journal China & World Economy. In 2011, he published his monograph “The Determinants of Chinese Outward Investment.” Dr Voss has been involved in research projects for UK Trade and Investment (China’s Regional Cities) and Nestlé and received external research and travel funding from the EU, the British Economic and Social Research Council, the Sino-British Fellowship Trust, and the Worldwide Universities Network. Before joining CIBUL, he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the White Rose East Asia Centre/National Institute for Chinese Studies. Dr Voss has been Visiting Researcher at the universities of Nanjing and Sydney. He is the Academic Leader of the Worldwide University Network Contemporary China Center (WUN CCC), Head of the advisory board of the NetImpact Chapter of LUBS, and ad hoc expert for the Europe China Research and Advice Network (ECRAN) and the EU SME Center, Beijing.

Stephen Wilks is Professor of Politics and former Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Exeter. He was a member of the UK Competition Commission and is currently a member of the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal. He has written extensively on government–industry relations and competition policy. His latest book is The Political Power of the Business Corporation forthcoming in 2013.

Cornelia Woll is Research Professor at Sciences Po Paris and co-directs the Max Planck Sciences Po Center for Coping with Instability in Market Societies (MaxPo) and the Interdisciplinary Center for the Evaluation of Public Policy (LIEPP). Her research focuses on international and comparative political economy, in particular business-government relations, trade, financial regulation, and European politics. She is the author of Firm Interests: How Governments Shape Business Lobbying on Global Trade (2008) and co-editor with Ben Clift of Economic Patriotism in Open Economics (2012). Her current book manuscript analyzes the recent bank bailouts in the United States and the European Union.

Shiufai Wong is Associate Professor at Macao Polytechnic Institute. He was Visiting Assistant Professor at Oklahoma State University and Senior Research Associate at City University of Hong Kong after receiving his PhD in Government and International Relations from the University of Sydney. He also has a decade-long experience in China and Asian markets, working for a German infrastructure consortium in its dealings with central and local governments. He has published more than a dozen articles on the state and governance.

Simon Zadek is writing in his independent capacity, and is Senior Fellow at the Global Green Growth Institute, and Senior Advisor at the International Institute for Sustainable Development. He is the founder and was the Chief Executive of AccountAbility, and until recently a non-resident Senior Fellow at Harvard’s J.F. Kennedy School for Government. His book, The Civil Corporation, was awarded the Academy of Management’s Social Issues in Management Award in 2006.


Policy is not something that is exclusively a matter for nation states. Nor is global policy purely a matter of concern for the international and intergovernmental organizations to which they belong. Each volume of the handbooks in this series of Handbooks of Global Policy focuses on particular policy areas (such as global trade, global social policy, and global health policy) or on issues (such as global inequality and poverty, and global migration), and all focus on institutions and governance. However, this Handbook explicitly focuses on perhaps the most important non-state actors that impact on and drive global policy processes and outcomes: global companies.

As they have grown and become increasingly multinational in their operations, global companies have taken on the mantle of central organizers of the global economy in addition to national economies. They control global markets and industry sectors, and are determiners of “who gets what” and therefore of social outcomes. The relationship that they have with the governments of nations and their citizens is central to any study of global policy. How odd it is then, that aside from studies of international business and management they remain relatively under-studied by comparison to the state and society. In particular, in the fields of international relations and comparative politics, and their related sub-fields, it is notable that studying global companies as complex and purposive political and social actors, in addition to economic ones, is still a relatively “cutting edge” endeavor. As I have noted elsewhere, while states and social movements are relatively well drawn, it remains the case that global companies are too often sketched as economic mechanisms of profit maximization, responding to market imperatives and regulations, and sometimes seeking to modify both, given their power to do so.

Global companies are so much more complex than this though. The authors of the chapters in this Handbook see them as political, social, and cultural, as well as economic entities, and examine their centrality in debates about global policy in this light. Some of the authors are emerging scholars. Others are well-established names in their fields. I am flattered to have been given the opportunity to approach them and to find myself in their company, and I thank them unreservedly for their excellent contributions. While there were several senior colleagues who warned me that taking on such an endeavor would be both time consuming and stressful, in truth thanks to the quality and timeliness of the chapters contributed it has largely been a delight.

As is always the case in any such project, there are many others who deserve mention. Inevitably, I am bound to leave someone out, and I hope they will forgive their unintended omission. My greatest thanks go to David Held, General Editor for the Handbooks of Global Policy series, for his helpful advice and guidance. I am particularly appreciative of the constructive, positive, and timely manner in which this has been offered – his kind words of encouragement and support have helped make the whole endeavor easier. For their support and advice on how to bring the whole Handbook together, and strategies for managing the processes involved, I also thank Ariadne Vromen, Diarmuid Maguire, Graeme Gill, Rodney Smith, and David Schlosberg. For both their words of encouragement and advice on potential contributors, I would particularly like to thank Linda Weiss, Susan Sell, Sol Picciotto, Natalia Nikolova, Miranda Schreurs, Jennifer Clapp, Claudio Radaelli, Kelly Kollman, Aseem Prakash, Michael Edwards, and Robert Wade. I also wish to thank the staff of Wiley-Blackwell for all their support and advice, particularly Ben Thatcher, Justin Vaughan, Sally Cooper, and Karen Raith. As always, I thank my wife, Kara, for her seemingly limitless understanding, much appreciated suggestions, and patience.

The opportunity in editing this Handbook was to present contemporary thought and analysis on the rise of companies that are more global than national, or are substantially transnational in their operations, with this in the context of a wide-ranging set of volumes on specific aspects of global policy and governance. In the process I have been given the chance to approach those whose work I have long admired, and to become acquainted with those whose research marks them as new and important voices in the field. I can think of no greater pleasure, and I hope that the readers of the Handbook will find it as useful and informative as I have enjoyed editing it.

John Mikler
University of Sydney, Australia