Handbook of Research on Strategy and Foresight
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Handbook of Research on Strategy and Foresight

Edited by Laura Anna Costanzo and Robert Bradley MacKay

Drawing together a collection of 29 original chapters, the Handbook makes an invaluable contribution to theory and practice by stimulating disciplined, rigorous and imaginative enquiry into the relationship between strategy and foresight. Leading scholars in the field of strategic management are brought together to offer innovative and multi-disciplinary perspectives on the past, present and future of strategy formation and foresight. In so doing, they challenge research in four key areas: strategy and foresight processes; strategy innovation for the future; understanding the future; and strategically responding to the future.
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Chapter 11: Micro-political Strategies and Strategizing in Multinational Corporations: The Case of Subsidiary Mandate Change

Christoph Dörrenbächer and Mike Geppert


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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