Martin Franz, Martina Fuchs, Sebastian Henn
May 5, 2018
By dealing with the process of othering in the context of acquisitions, this paper seeks to expand the concept of othering to Economic Geography. It argues that multinational companies should not only be viewed as victims of othering in that they suffer from obstructive policies and hostile public opinion, but rather that othering also matters within such firms. As a consequence of the links they establish between different countries, employees in such companies are constantly confronted with various socio-cultural backgrounds and frequently develop rather different expectations of how their counterparts should perform. This contribution analyses how and why managers and works councils in Germany practice distancing or othering towards owners of German firms located in China and India. It shows that othering can be critical within foreign direct investments. We approach the issue of othering by focusing on the sense of superiority of the involved parties, their positions in the company organisation and their related professional ethics, as well as the dynamics of othering that are mobilised in critical situations. The analysis is based on qualitative interviews from two different research projects.