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The Rise of the Global Company
Multinationals and the Making of the Modern World


Part of New Approaches to Economic and Social History

  • Date Published: January 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521614962

£ 19.99

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About the Authors
  • This is the first full account of how an influential form of commercial organization - the multinational enterprise - drove globalization and contributed to the making of the modern world. Robert Fitzgerald explores the major role of multinational enterprises in the events of world history, from the nineteenth century to the present, revealing how the growth of businesses that operated across borders contributed to an unprecedented worldwide transformation and deepening interdependence between countries. He demonstrates how international businesses shaped the economic development and competitiveness of nations, their politics and sovereignty, and the balance of power in international relations. The Rise of the Global Company uses the lessons of history to question prominent contemporary interpretations of multinationals and their consequences, and offers a truly wide-ranging survey of multinational enterprise, spanning two hundred years and five continents.

    • A survey of multinationals that traces their involvement in the events that determined the histories of nations, the international economy and international relations
    • Examines multinational enterprise as a major cause of globalization
    • Places the rise of multinational enterprise within the context of wider events in modern world history
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This is an ambitious study, long in preparation, on the vast reach of multinational enterprises and on their importance in the transformation of the modern world economy. It draws on a formidable collection of individual company data, emphasizing the interactions between firms and diplomatic, military, and political, as well as economic history. It covers a wide range of multinational enterprises in agriculture and mining and services as well as in manufacturing. It is a fascinating work.' Mira Wilkins, Florida International University

    'This book from … the well-known and respected business historian Dr Robert Fitzgerald is to be welcomed for a set of reasons. The breadth, amount and quality of the research and writing is outstanding … The book's strengths are manifold … it is the first wide-ranging and full account to detail how the organisational form of the multinational company (MNC) helped globalisation and made the modern world … it provides a useful and vital background to understanding MNCs … Dr Fitzgerald usefully reminds us of the uses and power of the lessons of history to allow us to better question and analyze prominent contemporary interpretations of MNCs and their consequences.' Chris Rowley, City University London

    'This is a definitive new book in the field of international business. Covering the period from the 1870s to the twenty-first century, the book is characterized by its wide time-span and depth of analysis. Its detailed account of the rise of the global company contributes to a comprehensive understanding of globalization - one of the most important phenomena today.' Etsuo Abe, Meiji University

    'Fitzgerald has provided us with an extremely effective synthesis of the global company over a century and a half. This is a wide-ranging survey of international business using the business historian's ability to take the 'long view'.' Terry Gourvish, London School of Economics and Political Science

    'An outstanding piece of work. The Rise of the Global Company provides a pioneering systematic historical analysis of the evolution of global companies from 1870 to the present. It describes interactions vividly between MNEs and other global forces such as host and home country governments and international organizations through four stages on the global scale.' Nobuo Kawabe, Bunkyo Gakuin University and Waseda University

    'This is a long-awaited magnum opus from a scholar whose encyclopaedic knowledge of multinationals is well displayed in this volume … It has two great strengths. The first is its coverage of the changing political contexts within which multinationals operated … The second strength is the book's eclecticism.' Leslie Hannah, (

    'Robert Fitzgerald has presented a formidable collection of historical data on a myriad of global companies in his book.' Miles Kahler, H-Diplo

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2016
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521614962
    • length: 636 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 27 mm
    • weight: 1kg
    • contains: 39 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Multinationals, states and the international economy
    2. Empires of business:
    3. The reverse gear?:
    4. Cold War and the new international economic order:
    5. Global economics?:
    Conclusion: international business in time

  • Author

    Robert Fitzgerald, Royal Holloway, University of London
    Dr Robert Fitzgerald is a Reader in Business History and International Management at Royal Holloway, University of London, specializing in business history, comparative management, international business, and the economic development of the Asia Pacific and Japan in particular. He has written on human resource management and labour, business cultures, economic development, marketing and consumption, and business organization, often from an international and comparative perspective. He has conducted research and fieldwork in countries all over the world, and taught in universities in Europe and Japan. He is the author or co-author of six books, including Doing Business in Emerging Markets: Opportunities and Challenges (2013), Rowntree and the Marketing Revolution, 1862–1969 (Cambridge University Press, 2007), The Growth of Nations: Culture, Competitiveness and the Problems of Globalization (1997), and British Labour Management and Industrial Welfare, 1846–1939 (1986). He is also the editor of seven books, including Remaking Management: Beyond Global and Local (Cambridge University Press, 2008), and has published numerous articles in leading international journals.

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