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Four essays on subsidiary evolution: Exploring the antecedents, contexts and outcomes of mandate loss
Mälardalen University, School of Business, Society and Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0900-4054
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The emergence of enhancement or depletion of subsidiary charters is driven by two different types of organizational units and the environment. (1) The parent is ultimately responsible for the establishment of subsidiaries and will greatly impact its evolution by involvement. (2) Evolution is also largely contingent on the subsidiary’s choice. (3) The environment is critical in the evolutionary process as changes in the environment will influence the parent and subsidiary in their choices (Birkinshaw, 1996; Birkinshaw and Hood, 1998; Cantwell and Mudambi, 2005). The thesis sets out to investigate the drivers and effects of mandating on subsidiary evolution within the MNE. The departure in this thesis from the literature is its specific focus on how mandates are lost in complex networked Multinational Enterprise’s (MNE) and the effect this has on subsidiary resources and relationship development.

This thesis bases its empirical analysis on data collected from two qualitative rounds of interviews collected in two Swedish multinational enterprises, Alfa and Beta, and 36 of their foreign subsidiaries based in Europe, China, India and N. America. This yielded 112 interviews, the first round of interviews investigates the headquarters drivers of mandating and the network characteristics of mandated subsidiaries. It became apparent during this first round that mandates were lost by subsidiaries quite often and that they continued operating. These counterfactuals informed the second round of interviews, here the focus zooms in on the consequences of the loss of R&D mandates on subsidiary evolution. Specifically, the thesis examines the resource and relationship characteristics of the focal subsidiaries and the impact of mandate loss. 

The study builds on four essays that taken together suggests if the MNE relocates mandates with the purpose of accessing resources, efficiency seeking, or as a response to endogenous and/or exogenous pressures, the process of mandating presents subsidiaries, that are not wound-down, spun-off or closed, with the opportunity and space to evolve its charter. This has far-reaching possible consequences for both the subsidiary and the MNE not least in resource and relationship combinations and orchestration and managing capabilities. Secondly, the thesis calls into question the importance of mandates and that researchers should pay more attention to the formal and informal tenets of mandates i.e. the combinations of mandate relationships and resources. The mandate is a well established indicator of the subsidiaries formal activities and responsibilities, however, it is not indicative of the informal behavior of a subsidiary which in this thesis is shown to be important in equal parts for the subsidiary’s evolution.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University Press , 2017.
Series
Mälardalen University Press Dissertations, ISSN 1651-4238 ; 239
National Category
Economics and Business
Research subject
Industrial Economics and Organisations
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-36606ISBN: 978-91-7485-349-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-36606DiVA: diva2:1146291
Public defence
2017-11-15, Omega, Västerås, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-10-02 Created: 2017-10-02 Last updated: 2017-10-12Bibliographically approved

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The full text will be freely available from 2017-10-25 02:21
Available from 2017-10-25 02:21

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Citation style
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