SIGCIS 2012 Workshop, Traditional Papers II: Information Societies

Name: Petri Paju
Institutional Affiliation: University of Turku, Finland
E-mail address:
Paper Type: Traditional
Paper Title: Multinational Corporation and National Interests in IBM Sweden: Mutually Beneficial Partnership but also Tensions
Paper Abstract: In Northern Europe, the capital region of Sweden developed as the hub of IBM operations during the Cold War era. This paper explores the reasons for Sweden's important position in the IBM World Trade Corporation, a global subsidiary of IBM Corp., and argues that IBM Sweden was able to form a valuable partnership with both the host country and its parent company. I study these beneficial combinations especially in (export) manufacturing and in research and development that IBM officially started in the IBM Nordic Laboratory in 1960. On the other side, labor relations in (IBM) Sweden contrasted with IBM's traditional ideal of a non-unionist corporation. In time, moreover, some Swedish employees sought to export the ideology of labor unions inside the multinational IBM community. This paper contributes to our understanding of IBM's international operations as well as labor relations in computer industry.