Towards Explaining the Use of Control Mechanisms in Foreign Subsidiaries of MNCs (summary section only)

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Titel: Towards Explaining the Use of Control Mechanisms in Foreign Subsidiaries of MNCs (summary section only)
Författare: Björkman, Anette
Medarbetare: Svenska handelshögskolan, Institutionen för företagsledning och organisation, företagsledning och organisation
Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration, Department of Management and Organisation, Management and Organisation
Utgivare: Svenska handelshögskolan
Datum: 2007-02-21
Språk: en
Tillhör serie: Economics and Society - 168
ISBN: 978-951-555-943-2
ISSN: 0424-7256
Permanenta länken (URI):
Nivå: Doktorsavhandling
Abstrakt: Control is central to management and there is already a considerable body of research on control. However, the emergence and growth of multinational corporations (MNCs) has renewed the interest in control, as MNCs are complex (often large) organizations that face circumstances beyond those of national business organizations. The geographical dispersion of MNC activities means that the headquarters controls subsidiaries that differ with regard to power and that are embedded in different cultural, political, legal and educational systems. Foreign subsidiary control also takes place across language boundaries and physical (i.e. geographical) distances. In face of these challenges, how are foreign subsidiaries controlled? The thesis explores different types of control mechanisms and attempts to explain the degree to which they are used to control foreign subsidiaries. It contributes to existing knowledge on control by exploring how five different control mechanisms are related to each other. Previous research has tended to focus only on one or two control mechanisms and seldom has their effect on each other been explored. The thesis also contributes by including two central aspects of the MNC that have been neglected in much of the research on foreign subsidiary control: language competence of subsidiary staff and physical distance between the headquarters and its subsidiaries. The findings indicate that specific control mechanisms should not be studied in isolation as there are intricate relationships among the different control mechanisms. Language competence of the subsidiary staff can furthermore affect the type and degree of control that the headquarters can exercise over a subsidiary. The findings also indicate that changes in the physical distance between subsidiaries and its headquarters (i.e. a relocation of the headquarters as part of a restructuring process) can have great consequences for the headquarters-subsidiary relationship.
Subject: multinational corporations
headquarters-subsidiary relationship
control mechanisms
language competence
physical distance
agency theory
resource dependence theory
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