|In the legal debate there are several contributions about transnational corporations. However, their very nature, i.e. their internal control and decision structure, is not treated sufficiently. In order to take a first step on this future field of research, this working paper links the theory of the firm developed by institutional economics to the legal discourse. The paper starts out with the highly controversal question of how transnational transnational corporations really are, i.e. how independently they act from their home states. It is shown that this controversy goes back to different perspectives on how to distinguish the transnational corporation from its surrounding. Thus, the further analysis of the legal nature of the transnational corporations is both focussing on transnational corporate groups linked by equity shares and transnational networks based on contractual obligations only. The analysis follows a normative approach, discussing the options to install control and decision structures by means of german corporate law. This restricted approach needs to be supplemented by further empirical research.
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