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Internationalization and the quest for legitimacy | Inaugural lecture Prof. Alan Muller (1 November)

27 October 2016
Alan Muller

The idea that companies’ international expansion comes at a cost to society is persistent and pervasive. Conventional wisdom holds that by exploiting gaps in the patchwork of often conflicting national legal frameworks, internationalizing companies increase their profits at the expense of society. Yet this assumption of international interactions between companies and society as a zero-sum game seems to be based on an overly “economized” perception of both business and society. This is striking given how much other areas of scholarship have revealed about international companies’ engagement with society, typically subsumed under the heading of corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Does international expansion really enhance profits at the expense of companies’ CSR? A closer look suggests there is more to this relationship than meets the eye. In his inaugural speech Professor Alan Muller revisits the notion of host-market legitimacy to take issue with the prevailing perspective in International Management on the determinants of international success. Through critical analysis of “the shape of U and other stuff”, he offers a forward-looking view in which international firms’ financial performance and their CSR may not be at odds with one another after all.

More information

  • Contact: Prof A.R. Muller
  • Title: Internationalization and the quest for legitimacy: the shape of U and other stuff
  • Chair: International Management
Last modified:27 October 2016 12.52 p.m.

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