A Research Companion
Edited by Mustafa F. Özbilgin and Ayala Malach-Pines
Chapter 10: The Impact of Foreign Subsidiary Managers’ Sociopolitical Positioning on Career Choices and their Subsequent Strategizing: Evidence from German-owned Subsidiaries in France
Christoph Dörrenbächer and Mike Geppert INTRODUCTION Subsidiaries, like multinational corporations (MNCs) as a whole, have a history. Founded or created in a historical situation for a speciﬁc end, they develop over time, reﬂecting multifaceted changes in their internal and external environment. Based on the conceptualization of MNCs as intraorganizational networks (Hedlund, 1986; Ghoshal and Bartlett, 1990), it is especially since the 1990s that subsidiary related research has gained a growing academic interest. This research concentrates on four topics: (1) role specialization of subsidiaries; (2) subsidiaries’ internal and external network relations; (3) headquarters–subsidiary relations; and (4) subsidiary role development, or, in other words, subsidiary evolution (Birkinshaw, 2001). The evolution of subsidiaries over time is mainly seen as a function of subsidiary capabilities, headquarters’ strategic intentions and locationspeciﬁc advantages of the country the subsidiary is located in (for an overview see Dörrenbächer and Gammelgaard, 2006). However, relatively little has been said about micro-political processes and key actors’ interests and strategies underlying subsidiary evolution, despite constant claims that MNCs should be understood as political systems, where diﬀerent groups as well as individual actors try to secure options, realize interests and achieve success (Westney and Zaheer, 2001; Fischer, 2005; Bélanger and Edwards, 2006). Based on three case studies of German subsidiaries in France, this chapter explores how foreign subsidiary managers’ idiosyncratic actions as 240 Foreign subsidiary managers’ sociopolitical positioning 241 well as the political nature of headquarters–subsidiary relations inﬂuence subsidiary evolution. In...
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