The Corporate CitizennNational vs. Transnational Economic StrategiesnTransnationalism isn’t a term that is familiar to thenAmerican people. According to Peter Drucker, anleading advocate of transnationalism, a transnational companynis one that operates in the global marketplace; that doesnits research wherever there are scientists and technicians,nand manufactures where economics dictate (in many countries,nthat is); and that has a management that doesn’t feelnany allegiance to the economic or national security interestsnof the country in which it is incorporated. It obtains itsnfinancing from institutions around the world. In short, itnregards itself as a free agent in a global economy.nThe transnational company represents a mutation of thenmultinational. American companies have had foreign subsidiariesnfor many decades, and the American multinationalnhas been built around the national interest of the UnitednStates. But some such companies are moving from multinationalnto transnational, and in doing so are consciouslyndiscarding their basic American orientation.nA case in point is the NCR Corporation. On April 12,n1989, economics columnist Hobart Rowen of The WashingtonnPost quoted Gilbert Williamson, president of NCR,nas saying, “I was asked the other day about competitiveness.nI replied that I don’t think about it at all. We at NCR thinknof ourselves as a globally competitive company that happensnAnthony Harrigan is the president of the United StatesnBusiness and Industrial Council, in Washington, DC.nby Anthony Harrigannf^-e€ z^^^^^”*-^nto be headquartered in the United States.”nRowen went on to say with approval that “the modernncorporation looks first to satisfying customers and to rollingnup profits — forget the salute to the flag.” He noted thatnWilliamson didn’t describe his company as American. “Butnfive or six years ago, he almost certainly would have,” hensaid.nPeter Drucker wants mid-size as well as large Americanncompanies to go transnational — to divorce themselves fromnthe US national interest. He urges smaller business units tontake the same route, saying it is “easier for them to operatenwithout much regard for national boundaries.” Mr. Druckernwants American business to begin thinking globally, thoughnthat may mean no longer thinking about what is good for thenUnited States.nWriting in Business Month last June, Mr. Drucker saidnthat “it does not matter to the transnational company whichncountry is in the lead.” The focus is on successful financialntransactions, irrespective of the interest of a particularncountry, its people, and institutions. For example, itnwouldn’t matter that strategic trade with the Soviet Unionnmay involve transfers of military technology that couldnendanger the United States, for a transnational companyndoes not take such factors into account. Mr. Drucker says,n”A company’s domicile has become a headquarters andncommunications center. It could be based anywhere.” Andnhe argues that “[m]anagers need increasingly to basennnJANUARY 1990/25n