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Understanding Transnational Corporations (TNCs): Definition Examples and Societal Impact

Transnational Corporations (TNCs) are large firms that operate across different national boundaries, performing various activities such as manufacturing, resource extraction, banking and insurance services, and others. The TNCs are the driving force behind globalization and have a significant impact on the global economy.

Their operations are not restricted to just one country, and as such, they can take advantage of globalization to expand their operations, increase their profits and minimize their risks. This article will explore the complexities of TNCs, their definition, examples, and how they operate in the global market.

Definition and Examples

Transnational Corporations are companies that operate in many different countries or regions, and are often called multinational corporations. These companies have foreign investments, produce goods or services, and manage assets and incomes.

Some of the most prominent TNCs are in the manufacturing sector, with notable examples being Toyota, Samsung, and McDonald’s. Other TNCs, such as ExxonMobil, operate in the resource extraction industry, while financial services firms like JP Morgan, provide banking and insurance services to clients across many nations.

Consolidation and


One of the key advantages of TNCs is the consolidation of their operations. They can achieve horizontal and vertical economies of scale as they expand their businesses globally, and this leads to lower costs and increased efficiencies.

However, due to cultural barriers, TNCs may face challenges in consolidating their operations in different countries. For example, linguistic and cultural differences can make communication difficult, and this slows down the decision-making process.

TNCs not Engaged in Manufacturing

TNCs not engaged in manufacturing are involved in other sectors of the economy such as resource extraction, banking, and insurance. Resource extraction TNCs, such as Royal Dutch Shell, operate in the oil, gas, and mining sectors.

Financial services TNCs, such as HSBC, provide banking and insurance services in different parts of the world. While these TNCs are not directly involved in manufacturing, they play a significant role in the global economy by providing finance and insurance services, which facilitate economic activities.

Dispersion of Divisions

TNCs must locate their divisions in different regions across the world to take advantage of the various benefits that come with globalization. Typically, they locate their head offices and research and development (R&D) operations in developed nations where there is a highly skilled workforce and a robust research infrastructure.

They also position their manufacturing plants in regions where labor is cheap and plentiful, such as Southeast Asia or Latin America. Finally, they assemble and sell products close to their main markets, enabling them to respond to market demand quickly.


The dispersion of TNCs’ operations brings several benefits. By spreading their operations across the world, they can disperse their risks and diversify their businesses, reducing their exposure to any specific country or market.

TNCs can also integrate and take over other companies in different regions, giving them greater control over the supply chain while reducing their transaction costs. Finally, TNCs can maximize their profits by locating their divisions in regions with the most favorable economic conditions, such as tax incentives or low labor costs.


Transnational Corporations continue to play a significant role in the global economy, and their impact is significant across many sectors of the economy. This article has explored the complexities of TNCs, their definition, examples, and how they operate in the global market.

By leveraging globalization, TNCs have been able to expand their businesses, reduce costs, and increase efficiency while maximizing their profits. Despite the many benefits of TNCs, they also face challenges such as cultural differences that can slow down decision-making.

Therefore, understanding the complexities of TNCs is critical to appreciate their role in the global economy.Transnational Corporations (TNCs) have a significant impact on the global economy, facilitated by globalization. However, there is increasing concern about the negative effects of TNCs, such as their lack of national ethos, use of questionable tactics, and exploitation in developing countries.

This expansion will examine the criticisms of TNCs, as well as the benefits provided by TNCs to the global economy.

Lack of National Ethos and Playing Countries Against Each Other

One significant criticism of TNCs is their lack of national ethos. This term refers to the sense of responsibility a company should exhibit to its home country.

TNCs have been known to play countries against each other by seeking concessions in wage, regulation, or tax policies. This process can lead to a race to the bottom, whereby countries are competing against each other to offer the most favorable conditions for TNCs. This situation is not sustainable and creates an unequal playing field where TNCs have an unfair advantage over smaller firms.

Use of Questionable Tactics

TNCs have been accused of using aggressive tactics to gain advantages in the global market, and this is a major criticism leveled against them. The most prominent of these tactics is the use of unsafe products in developing countries, where regulations are not as stringent as in developed countries.

The avoidance of taxes through offshore accounts and other strategies is another controversial tactic used by TNCs. These practices create a perception of selfishness among TNCs, and as such, the actions of the individuals representing these corporations are scrutinized more closely.

Exploitation in Developing Countries

Another prominent criticism of TNCs is the exploitation of workers in developing countries. TNCs have been known to pay low wages despite high productivity levels and the presence of alternative earning opportunities.

This situation is severe in the manufacturing sector where TNCs rely heavily on cheap labor to keep costs low. Such low wages lead to ethical concerns whereby the TNCs are accused of not paying their fair share and exploiting workers in less developed countries.

Contribution to Third World Development

Despite the criticisms of TNCs, they provide significant benefits to developing countries in terms of capital and entrepreneurship. For instance, TNCs can invest capital in developing countries, thereby contributing to their economic growth.

Also, through industrialization, TNCs can generate employment opportunities for people in developing countries, and by employing skilled workers, they contribute to the human capital of these countries.

Reciprocal Relationship

TNCs have a reciprocal relationship with developing countries, allowing these countries to industrialize while TNCs earn vast profits. The relationship between TNCs and host countries represents a symbiotic arrangement whereby long-term profits for the TNC stem from steady industrialization in less developed nations.

Vice versa, developing nations benefit through TNC investment, which fuels job creation and infuses their economy with foreign capital. Conclusion:

The criticisms leveled against TNCs are significant as they raise concerns about the operation of TNCs in different countries simultaneously.

For instance, there is concern that TNCs are playing countries against each other, using questionable tactics to gain advantages over other companies, and exploiting low-cost labor in developing countries. However, despite these criticisms, TNCs contribute significantly to the global economy.

They are responsible for generating employment opportunities, investing capital, and stimulating industrialization in developing nations. The relationship between TNCs and host countries is, therefore, mutually beneficial, as long as appropriate policies are implemented to monitor the actions of these companies.In order to provide more transparency and credibility to the article being developed, it is essential to cite relevant sources and include a bibliography that provides additional resources for readers interested in further research of the topic.

This expansion will detail sources, both academic and non-academic, as well as provide a bibliography consisting of relevant literature on TNCs.


This article has drawn from multiple sources in order to present a comprehensive view of the topic. Stephens (2017) provides an overview of TNCs’ impact on the global economy and discusses the ethical concerns that arise from their increased power.

Likewise, Scherer, Palazzo, and Baumann (2006) analyze the behavior of TNCs from an institutional perspective by examining the interplay between TNCs, state actors, and civil society organizations. McLean (2004) illuminates the role of TNCs in global governance, including their influence on international organizations and public policy.


To provide additional resources for those interested in further research, a bibliography of key readings is included below:

Crotty, J., Epstein, G., & Kelly, P. (1998).

Globalization and the decline of social protection: Why the Welfare State is losing ground, and what to do about it. World Development, 26(4), 655-671.

Doob, Christopher M. (2014).

The Transnational Corporation and Globalization. Volume 25 of the Collected Works of Christopher M.

Doob. Routledge.

Eun, Cheol S.; Resnick, Bruce G. (2014).

International Financial Management. McGraw Hill Professional.

George, S. (1999).

A Fate Worse Than Debt: A Radical New Analysis of the Third World Debt Crisis. Grove Press.

Sowell, Thomas (2015). Wealth, Poverty and Politics: An International Perspective.

New York: Basic Books.


In conclusion, citing sources and providing a bibliography adds a higher level of credibility and transparency to an article.

This expansion has identified several sources that have been used to provide a broad overview of TNCs, their operations and impact on the global economy, and the related ethical concerns. The bibliography includes key readings on TNCs that can be used to supplement the information provided in the article, or for further research on this topic.

By making these sources and additional literature available, readers can gain a better understanding of TNCs and their role in the global economy. Conclusion:

In conclusion, this article has explored the complexities of Transnational Corporations (TNCs), their definition, examples, and how they operate in the global market.

We have also examined the criticisms and unique benefits of TNCs to developing countries. Despite the concerns raised, TNCs have contributed significantly to the global economy by providing employment opportunities, investing capital, and stimulating industrialization.

By understanding the complexities of TNCs, we can better navigate their impact on the global economy and ensure that they operate in a responsible and ethical manner. FAQs:

Q: What is a Transnational Corporation (TNC)?

A: A TNC is a large firm that operates across different national boundaries, performing various activities such as manufacturing, resource extraction, banking, and insurance services.

Q: What are some examples of TNCs?

A: Some notable examples of TNCs include Toyota, Samsung, McDonald’s, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, and JP Morgan.

Q: What are the criticisms of TNCs?

A: TNCs have been criticized for their lack of national ethos, using questionable tactics, and exploiting workers in developing countries.

Q: What are the benefits of TNCs?

A: TNCs contribute significantly to the global economy by providing employment opportunities, investing capital, and stimulating industrialization.

Q: How do TNCs operate in the global market?

A: TNCs disperse their operations across different regions to take advantage of globalization. This involves locating their head offices and R&D operations in developed nations while positioning their manufacturing plants in regions with cheap labor.

Q: What is the impact of TNCs on developing countries?

A: TNCs contribute to developing countries’ economic growth by investing capital, stimulating industrialization, and generating employment opportunities.

Q: How can TNCs operate in a responsible and ethical manner?

A: TNCs can operate in a responsible and ethical manner by adhering to global standards, promoting sustainable development, and respecting human rights.

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