Session 376

Headquarters Subsidiary Relationship: New Approaches to an Old Question

Track G

Date: Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Time: 11:00 – 12:15


Room: Lisboa

Session Chair:

  • Phillip Christopher Nell, WU Vienna

Title: Dual Headquarters Involvement in Multibusiness Firms


  • Philip Kappen, Copenhagen Business School
  • Phillip Christopher Nell, WU Vienna
  • Henrik Dellestrand, Uppsala University

Abstract: The strategy literature has shown that headquarters involve themselves into subsidiary operations to add value. Yet, little is known about the extent to which multiple headquarters do so. Therefore, we investigate antecedents of corporate and divisional headquarters’ involvement in innovation development projects of subsidiaries. Analyses of 85 innovation development projects reveal that dual innovation importance (innovation that is important for the division and the rest of the firm), and dual dual embeddedness (innovating subsidiary is embedded both within the division and in the rest of the firm) lead to greater dual headquarters involvement, especially when the innovation development network is large. The results contribute to the literature on complex parenting and theory of selective headquarters involvement.

Title: Problem Solving Networks in MNCs: Value Destroying Effects of HQ Involvement


  • Esther Tippmann, University College Dublin
  • Andrew Parker, University of Kentucky

Abstract: Bottom-up processes of value creation are largely undertaken by temporal networks of actors – networks composed to accomplish a specific task. This study examines such temporal networks in the context of subsidiary-driven problem solving and how their composition, specifically headquarters involvement, influences the ability to achieve solutions effectively and to contribute to MNC competence development. Using data of 67 problem solving networks, results indicate that headquarters involvement tends to destroy value although this effect depends on their involvement behavior during solution finding and solution implementation. By advancing understanding of how problem solving networks operate, our study illuminates an important way of organizing and shows that certain hands-on parenting activities exerted by headquarters in their increasingly important entrepreneurial role are actually counter-productive.

Title: Strategy in Multinational Subsidiaries: An Empirical Investigation into the Strategic Roles of MNC Middle Managers


  • Donal O'Brien, Dublin City University
  • Pamela Sharkey Scott, National University of Ireland at Maynooth
  • Patrick Gibbons, University College Dublin

Abstract: The ability of some subsidiaries to negotiate with headquarters and manipulate the power structures of the MNC is broadly accepted but little is known about the role of the subsidiary general manager in this process. We suggest that tensions between the headquarters and subsidiary perspectives demand a new lens for analysis and build an organising framework for subsidiary management strategic activity by extending the Floyd and Wooldridge middle manager perspective of strategic influence activities. A framework is proposed based on the vertical and horizontal strategic roles of middle managers. The study makes two important contributions, firstly by confirming the appropriateness of the framework, and secondly by testing the antecedents and outcomes of the eight vertical and horizontal MNC middle management roles.

Title: Why are Given Practices Coupled by the Subsidiaries of an MNE?: A Mixed-method Approach


  • Anne Jacqueminet, Bocconi University

Abstract: This paper explains why certain practices are highly coupled by the subsidiaries of MNEs and others not by bringing together two types explanations related to the practices: their characteristics and their institutionalization level in the different fields the subsidiaries are embedded in. To investigate the prioritization and articulation of these antecedents, we supplement our quantitative analysis with a fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis of 25 practices in 71 subsidiaries of an MNE. The preliminary results of our fuzzy set QCA suggest that practices characteristics and institutionalization level combine in explaining the coupling of the practices. However, while two practices’ characteristics –complexity and lack of value consistency- are central conditions for low coupling, high coupling depends mostly on high institutionalization in the subsidiary’s country and industry.

All Sessions in Track G...

Sun: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 389: Managing the Multinational Organization in an Increasingly Complex World
Sun: 09:30 – 10:45
Session 221: Global Stakeholder Networks
Session 390: Local Determinants of Competitive Advantage and Disadvantage
Sun: 11:15 – 12:30
Session 2: Offshore Outsourcing, Dynamic Capabilities, and the Changing Nature of Firm Boundaries
Sun: 15:45 – 17:00
Session 270: Innovation in MNCs and Global Networks
Session 371: Inter and Intra Organizational Learning Across Borders: A Knowledge Management Perspective
Session 380: Small, Young and Entrepreneurial Firms: A Unique Perspective in Globalization
Sun: 17:15 – 18:30
Session 603: Global Strategy IG Business Meeting
Mon: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 335: Internationalization and Strategic Decisions
Session 379: Emerging Markets: Understanding the Importance of Context
Mon: 11:00 – 12:15
Session 372: The Challenges of Global Operations: Managing R&D and Complexity
Session 373: Global Diversification: Governance and Performance Implications
Mon: 14:45 – 16:00
Session 375: Changing External Environments: How do Multinationals Respond?
Session 381: Firm boundaries in Multinational Organizations: Antecedents and Consequences
Session 414: Global Networks and Business Groups
Mon: 16:30 – 17:45
Session 226: Culture, Norms and Institutions: The contextual influences on Entrepreneurship
Session 374: Antecedents and Consequences of Multinational Location Decisions
Session 382: Drivers of Multinational Performance:What, Where and When?
Tue: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 383: Globalization of R&D: Implications for Learning and Innovation
Tue: 11:00 – 12:15
Session 376: Headquarters Subsidiary Relationship: New Approaches to an Old Question
Session 384: Multinational Location Decisions: New Approaches Across Different Perspective
Tue: 15:30 – 16:45
Session 263: Innovation Models in Emerging Economies
Session 377: Organizing Assets Across Borders: Drivers and Consequences
Session 385: Multinational firms and the External Environment: The Role of Institutions
Tue: 17:15 – 18:30
Session 378: Global Outsourcing & Offshoring: Implications for Multinational Decisions

Strategic Management Society