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Edited by Laura Anna Costanzo and Robert Bradley MacKay
Chapter 11: Micro-political Strategies and Strategizing in Multinational Corporations: The Case of Subsidiary Mandate Change
Christoph Dörrenbächer and Mike Geppert Introduction Like all other forms of politics, micro politics are a strategic attempt to exert a formative inﬂuence on social structures and human relations. The aim of micro-political strategies is to secure options, to realize interests, and to achieve success through eﬀorts that are often but not exclusively motivated by interests or individual career plans of key actors. Micro-political strategizing is thus an everyday occurrence at large multinational corporations (MNCs), and understanding and anticipating actors’ strategizing is a key to developing strategic foresight (Tsoukas and Chia, 2002; Costanzo, 2003). However, the question of which actors are involved in micro-political strategizing in MNCs is still largely debated. In the early 1960s, James G. March devised a general list of relevant political actors in ﬁrms including investors, investment analysts, suppliers, customers, governmental agents, employees, trade associations, political parties and labor unions (March, 1962, pp. 672f.). Taking the perspective of a large and diﬀerentiated MNC this list would seem to be an oversimpliﬁcation which, in particular, does not do justice to management, with their diﬀerent hierarchical, functional and organizational backgrounds, not to mention their national and intercultural ties that are especially important here. The large number of potential micro-political actors in MNCs as well as their heterogeneity indicates ﬁrst the speciﬁc signiﬁcance of coalition building. According to March (ibid.), negotiations between political coalitions determine the composition and goals of an organization. Second, the heterogeneity of the actors involved in...
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