From Cultural Differences To Identity Politics: A Critical Discursive Approach To National Identity in Multinational Corporations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Research units

  • Hanken School of Economics


There is a paucity of knowledge of one key aspect of diversity in and around international organizations: national identity. This is especially the case with research on multinational corporations (MNC) that has focused on cultural differences instead of processes of national identification or national identity construction. Drawing on a critical discursive approach, this paper offers four perspectives that can help to advance this area of research. First, MNCs can be viewed as sites of identity politics, within which one can study ‘us vs. them’ constructions and the reproduction of inequalities. Second, MNCs can be seen as actors engaged in identity building and legitimation, and the analysis of the discursive dynamics involved illuminates important aspects of identity politics between the organization and its environment. Third, MNCs can be viewed as part of international relations between nations and nationalities, and analysis of discursive dynamics in the media can elucidate key aspects of the international struggles encountered. Fourth, MNCs can be seen as agents of broader issues and changes, which enables us to comprehend how MNCs advance neocolonialism or promote positive change in society.


Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Management Studies
Early online date13 Jun 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Jun 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • critical discourse analysis, discourse, diversity, identity, multinational corporation, nationalism, national identity, power

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