Bill Carrol and I just published a study on the changes in the global network of interlocking directorates between 1970 and 1996. Eelke Heemskerk, Robert Mokken and I also published a similar study on the network of corporate interlocks in The Netherlands between 1976 and 1996 (in Dutch), while Marcolm Alexander and Bill Carroll are about to publish a comparison between the US and the Australian network between 1976 and 1996.
William K. Carroll and Meindert Fennema. Is there a transnational business community? International Sociology 17, 3 (September 2002): 393-419.
This paper tries to answer two questions. The first is whether capitalist class formation is now taking place at a transnational level; the second is what regime of corporate governance is becoming dominant in the last quarter of the 20th century. The answers we give are based on a comparison of the networks of interlocking directorates among the 176 largest corporations in the world economy as of 1976 and 1996. The analysis suggests that from the 1970s to the 1990s an Atlantic business system developed. However, Japanese firms are not integrated in this network while the European Union is indeed creating a European business community. Our research lends support to the hypothesis that the network has become less a device for domination and control and more a device for building hegemony. This also suggests that corporate governance is increasingly based on exit-strategies rather than on voice as has been common in continental European contexts.
Keywords: corporate governance, interlocking directorates, globalization, economic elites, class formation