Transnational Business Governance Interactions and Technical Systems in Global Finance

23 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2012

See all articles by Tony Porter

Tony Porter

McMaster University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: September 8, 2012


Most transnational regulatory problems involve technical systems: extended sets of productive connections between humans, organized knowledge, and material objects. The functioning and relations between transnational business governance (TBG) schemes in any particular issue area are usually shaped by these technical systems. These technical systems and the material world that they interact with are not simply exogenous environments for TBG schemes. Individual TBG schemes can enhance their power and influence by expanding their function in a technical system, by incorporating the material aspects of the system into their activities, or by producing the system’s technical knowledge. I hypothesize that where a robust technical system exists, the degree of integration and the need for coordination of the activities it involves will mean that in most cases that technical system will be coordinated overall by only one TBG scheme. There are two exceptions: where technical systems overlap; or where the system is so weak that competitive pressures outweigh the factors contributing to specialization. The article develops these themes by drawing on theories that have focused on the social and political aspects of technical systems. The article identifies the contributions and limits of these theories and of a focus on technical systems in analyzing interactions among TBG schemes. The relevance of the theoretical points is assessed with regard to the TBG schemes that are active in global finance.

Keywords: transnational governance, private governance, international finance, technical systems

Suggested Citation

Porter, Tony, Transnational Business Governance Interactions and Technical Systems in Global Finance (September 8, 2012). Osgoode CLPE Research Paper No. 19/2012. Available at SSRN: or

Tony Porter (Contact Author)

McMaster University - Department of Political Science ( email )

1280 Main Street West
Kenneth Taylor Hall 527
Ontario, L8S 4M4

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