Role of Multinational corporations21st January 2021
A multinational corporation (MNC) is a company that operates in its home country, as well as in other countries around the world. It maintains a central office located in one country, which coordinates the management of all its other offices, such as administrative branches or factories.
Multinational corporations are those large firms which are incorporated in one country but which own, control or manage production and distribution facilities in several countries. Therefore, these multinational corporations are also known as transnational corporations. They transact business in a large number of countries and often operate in diversified business activities. The movements of private foreign capital take place through the medium of these multinational corporations. Thus multinational corporations are important source of foreign direct investment (FDI).
Besides, it is through multinational corporations that modern high technology is transferred to the developing countries. The important question about multinational corporations is why they exist. The multinational corporations exist because they are highly efficient. Their efficiencies in production and distribution of goods and services arise from internalising certain activities rather than contracting them out to other firms. Managing a firm involves which production and distribution activities it will perform itself and which activities it will contract out to other firms and individuals.
In addition to this basic issue, a big firm may decide to set up and operate business units in other countries to benefit from advantages of location. For examples, it has been found that giant American and European firms set up production units to explore and refine oil in Middle East countries because oil is found there. Similarly, to take advantages of lower labour costs, and not strict environmental standards, multinational corporate firms set up production units in developing countries.
- Filling Savings Gap: The first important contribution of MNCs is its role in filling the resource gap between targeted or desired investment and domestically mobilized savings. For example, to achieve a 7% growth rate of national output if the required rate of saving is 21% but if the savings that can be domestically mobilised is only 16% then there is a ‘saving gap’ of 5%. If the country can fill this gap with foreign direct investments from the MNCs, it will be in a better position to achieve its target rate of economic growth.
- Filling Trade Gap: The second contribution relates to filling the foreign exchange or trade gap. An inflow of foreign capital can reduce or even remove the deficit in the balance of payments if the MNCs can generate a net positive flow of export earnings.
- Filling Revenue Gap: The third important role of MNCs is filling the gap between targeted governmental tax revenues and locally raised taxes. By taxing MNC profits, LDC governments are able to mobilize public financial resources for development projects.
- Filling Management/Technological Gap: Fourthly, Multinationals not only provide financial resources but they also supply a “package” of needed resources including management experience, entrepreneurial abilities, and technological skills. These can be transferred to their local counterparts by means of training programs and the process of ‘learning by doing’.
Moreover, MNCs bring with them the most sophisticated technological knowledge about production processes while transferring modern machinery and equipment to capital poor LDCs. Such transfers of knowledge, skills, and technology are assumed to be both desirable and productive for the recipient country.
- Other Beneficial Roles: The MNCs also bring several other benefits to the host country.
(a) The domestic labour may benefit in the form of higher real wages.
(b) The consumers benefit by way of lower prices and better quality products.
(c) Investments by MNCs will also induce more domestic investment. For example, ancillary units can be set up to ‘feed’ the main industries of the MNCs
(d) MNCs expenditures on research and development(R&D), although limited is bound to benefit the host country.
Apart from these there are indirect gains through the realization of external economies.
Role of a Multinational Corporation
- Very high assets and turnover
To become a multinational corporation, the business must be large and must own a huge amount of assets, both physical and financial. The company’s targets are high, and they are able to generate substantial profits.
- Network of branches
Multinational companies maintain production and marketing operations in different countries. In each country, the business may oversee multiple offices that function through several branches and subsidiaries.
In relation to the previous point, the management of offices in other countries is controlled by one head office located in the home country. Therefore, the source of command is found in the home country.
- Continued growth
Multinational corporations keep growing. Even as they operate in other countries, they strive to grow their economic size by constantly upgrading and by conducting mergers and acquisitions.
- Sophisticated technology
When a company goes global, they need to make sure that their investment will grow substantially. In order to achieve substantial growth, they need to make use of capital-intensive technology, especially in their production and marketing activities.
- Right skills
Multinational companies aim to employ only the best managers, those who are capable of handling large amounts of funds, using advanced technology, managing workers, and running a huge business entity.
- Forceful marketing and advertising
One of the most effective survival strategies of multinational corporations is spending a great deal of money on marketing and advertising. This is how they are able to sell every product or brand they make.
- Good quality products
Because they use capital-intensive technology, they are able to produce top-of-the-line products.