Following on the success of the corporate model at a national level, many corporations have become transnational or multinational corporations: growing beyond national boundaries to attain sometimes remarkable positions of power and influence in the process of globalizing.
The typical "transnational" or "multinational" may fit into a web of overlapping shareholders and directorships, with multiple branches and lines in different regions, many such sub-groupings comprising corporations in their own right. Growth by expansion may favor national or regional branches; growth by acquisition or merger can result in a plethora of groupings scattered around and/or spanning the globe, with structures and names which do not always make clear the structures of shareholder ownership and interaction.
In the spread of corporations across multiple continents, the importance of corporate culture has grown as a unifying factor and a counterweight to local national sensibilities and cultural awareness.
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“You may cut off the heads of every rich man now livingof every statesmanevery literary, and every scientific authority, without in the least changing the social situation. Artists, of course, disappeared long ago as social forces. So did the church. Corporations are not elevators, but levellers, as I see them.”
—Henry Brooks Adams (18381918)