Changes and Continuities in the Organizational Field for Corporate Tax

Sara Jespersen

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This paper develops an understanding of a change in practice within the corporate tax field. A small number of large multinational corporations (MNC) have coupled their corporate tax strategies to the idea of being a responsible business and in this way departed with the traditional view of tax practice being solely about legal compliance and cost minimization. This study offers a contribution to our understanding that tax is a social and institutional practice (Oats 2012) and tax as an organizational field of significant importance in society (Mulligan and Oats 2016). It contributes with a new empirical area for fiscal sociology (Martin, Mehrotra, and Prasad 2009), which has so far not engaged with corporate income taxation specifically or the organization as a unit of analysis. Thereby allowing for new perspectives on the potential role of organizations in the redistribution of wealth (Amis et al. 2018; Bapuji et al. 2018) in today’s globalized society as MNCs are some of the most powerful and profitable organizations today.
By exploring through document analysis what meanings are attached to the concept of “responsible corporate tax practice” among tax professionals in multinational corporations and influential voices in the public debate (academics, investors, NGOs, media) this paper develops the understanding of the complexity of the tax field and its intersections with other fields. This paper thereby contributes with an empirical study on an organizational field particular to MNCs and adds new understandings of structure and autonomy of organizational fields as well as on the relations between actors in the field. It offers a highly relevant and optimistic view on the role for MNCs (and organizational studies) in the issue of rising inequality. In light of its findings, it suggest ways forward for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventSASE 32nd Annual Conference 2020 - Virtual: Development Today: Accumulation, Surveillance, Redistribution - Virtual, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 18 Jul 202021 Jul 2021
Conference number: 32


ConferenceSASE 32nd Annual Conference 2020 - Virtual
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