Global trafficking networks and business studies

Tommy Jensen, Johan Sandström


This paper outlines the contours of the global network society and then searches for 'the masters' of this emerging environment. Judging from the management talk on flexible, decentralized and adaptable networked enterprises, these masters are found in the large global corporations, but closing in on practice, evidence rather points in the direction of illegal, or partly illegal, global networks. In the paper, we use global trafficking networks as the benchmark example, arguing that they are the real masters of the global network society and that they show us in which direction large global corporations might be heading. This raises several issues, of which the role and responsibilities of business researchers and business studies are discussed. We present three kinds of arguments to why we should study global trafficking networks -- the ideologist, the scientific and the moral argument. The position advocated in the paper holds that the two first cannot be left to their own destinies; they need to be assessed on moral grounds.

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