Management Papers

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version


Publication Source

The Oxford Handbook of International Business (2 ed.)




This article is concerned with only one aspect of the vast literature on MNE–state relations: the impact of the MNE on sovereignty, autonomy, and control. It argues that the mainstream literature of the sovereignty at bay era did not predict the end of the nation-state or conclude that sovereignty is critically compromised either in theory or practice. In fact, while the terms ‘sovereignty’, autonomy', and ‘control’ appear frequently in these discussions, they are rarely defined or even used precisely. At the end of the day MNEs are international or cross-border entities which are of the existing inter-state system firmly rooted in national territorial jurisdiction. The problems posed by the traditional MNE for both states and the inter-state system tend to involve issues of jurisdictional asymmetry, jurisdictional overlap and control, rather than sovereignty in its formal sense. The hierarchical or Fordist structure of the traditional MNE reinforces the core values of the modern international political system: state sovereignty and mutually exclusive territoriality.

Copyright/Permission Statement

This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in The Oxford Handbook of International Business following peer review. The version of record is available online at:


MNE-state relations, globalization, international political system, multinational enterprise, inter-state system, state sovreignty



Date Posted: 27 November 2017