One firm, two countries, one workplace model? The case of Foxconn’s internationalisation


*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This article aims to provide insight into the employment relations in China-based multinational companies internationalising to Europe, a still relatively unexplored topic. We investigate the transfer of work and employment practices from Foxconn’s manufacturing headquarters in mainland China to its subsidiaries in Czechia and the factors that influence the firm’s internationalisation of production. By drawing upon original ethnographic fieldwork, the study makes a two-fold contribution. First, it shows the analytical inadequacy of the ‘latecomer’ model which assumes that the Chinese firm is an asset seeker. Second, it illustrates the relevance of diversity of labour and non-institutionalised forms of workers’ agency for theorisation of internationalisation. These topics are still insufficiently addressed by the literature that favours managerial agency and the model of distinctive and stable national labour forces. The study contributes to the theoretical debates on internationalisation by illustrating the limits of the national institutionalist perspective, the importance of considering a multi-scalar analytical framework and the relevance of labour composition in shaping multinational employment relations. JEL Codes: J61, J42, L23.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-278
Number of pages17
JournalEconomic and Labour Relations Review
Issue number2
Early online date16 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Chinese work and employment practices
  • Foxconn
  • internationalisation of production
  • migrant workers
  • workers’ agency


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