Does Innovation Go with Social Inclusion?  Multinational Corporation in Mexico

Wednesday, May 25, 2016
12:30 - 2:00pm

UCLA Public Affairs Building, Faculty Lounge 5391

Presented by: Jorge Carrillo,  El Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF)

with Discussant: Eric Sheppard, UCLA, Geography



About the Talk:

Recent research has revealed that contrary to the expectations generated by globalization, there is no automatic correlation linking world trade expansion and multinational companies, product innovation, and more generally, economic progress (measured in terms of growth) with social progress. On the contrary, there is evidence showing that even when there has been a significant job transfer to developing countries, there has been deterioration in its quality.


This research stems from the need to understand and document the variety of paths experienced when adapting working relations to the requirements arising from the economic innovation processes in the case of Mexico, considering there is a wide selection of multinational companies from various sectors installed in the country. Therefore, this paper aims to identify the relationship between innovation and social-labor progress, through the analysis multinational firms established in Mexico.


It is worth mentioning that this paper is derived from an study in nine countries coordinated by the Intrepid, an academic international network. In Mexico’s case, the survey represents 922 multinational firms in the manufacturing and service sectors. The purpose of the survey was to determine their performance in terms of innovation, employment practices and outsourcing. After the analysis of the data, a typology of innovation-social inclusion was designed, and based on these results, a second stage of the study was conducted through qualitative analysis with 16 companies from different productive sectors. Companies from different country of origin were taken into account, including Americans, Europeans, Chinese and Mexicans.


All selected companies have significant national and international economic relevance, and all of them follow practices of innovation. The research question in this case was whether innovation is associated with socio-labor progress in multinational companies.


The main results confirm the general perception of literature on the topic: innovation giving economic and competitive results to multinational companies is not associated to the results of social-labor progress, and the overall balance of globalization is not the reduction of inequality. In most companies, innovations (product and process) were observed and changes in the business model were also perceived; however, these improvements did not go alongside the socio-labor progress. Only a small proportion of companies follow the “high road”. Finally, this paper offers some results on the associated variables, which allow observing the positive articulation between innovation and social-labor progress.




About the Speaker:


Jorge Carrillo is professor-researcher of Social Studies Department at COLEF in Tijuana, Mexico, since 1982. He has a Ph.D. in sociology from El Colegio de Mexico. He has research visiting fellowships in  Spain, France, Japan, UK and USA. Author of 27 books & edited books; and 68 articles in academic journals in Spanish, English, German, Portuguese, Italian, French, Japanese and Chinese. He is very active in international academic networks (CRIMT-Canada, GERPISA-France, JMNESG-Japan, ALAST-Brazil, INTREPID-global). He is a specialist in industrial and labor sociology. Actually he is working on innovation and social inclusion in Multinational Companies. Recently he obtain the Baja California State award on Science, Technology and Innovation.  His Web page:



Eric Sheppard is Humboldt Chair and Professor of Geography, with research interests in geographical political economy, uneven geographies of globalization, neoliberalism, urbanization in the global South, urban sustainability and environmental justice, and critical GIS. He teaches courses in globalization, economic geography, development and urban change. He is co-editor of Environment and Planning.






This event is presented by the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor & Employment and cosponsored by the UCLA Center for Mexican Studies and UCLA Anderson School of Management and Organizations