ASML: Passive Transmitter or Active Player?

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European policymakers have been increasingly raising concerns about geopolitical tensions triggered by the technological competition between the US and China. As a result, the European Union has presented ‘Open Strategic Autonomy’ to improve its position in the technological competition. Scholars have indicated that Europe’s pursuit in open strategic autonomy can be attributed to the implications of weaponized interdependence. The theory of weaponized interdependence addresses the security risks of global economic networks, and although private actors play crucial roles in the theory, the original framework portrays them as passive transmitters of government policy. This thesis sought to examine the situation in which this assumption is violated. This is done by examining different factors that can influence a company’s non(compliance) with public policy. In order to answer the research question, a single case study is conducted. The unit of analysis is a monopolist in the semiconductor industry, Dutch chip-machine manufacturer ASML. This unique case gives insights in the behaviour of a company when it is exposed to regulations resulting from weaponized interdependence. The results show that multiple factors – alignment of values and interests, fear for reputational damage and holding sources of influence over public authorities – can be drivers for (non)compliance. The implications of these results are twofold. Firstly, these insights can contribute to the role of private actors in the framework of weaponized interdependence. Secondly, this study helps to give insight in the conditions under which sincere cooperation between the private actor and the public authority is conceivable.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen