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Working paper

CONTRIBUTIONS TOWARDS A RENEWED DEBATE ON MULTINATIONAL HEADQUARTER-SUBSIDIARY RELATIONS:SUBSIDIARY MANDATES, CORPORATE PARENTING STYLES AND COLLECTIVE PSYCHOLOGICAL CONTRACTS

Gurkov I. B., Morley M. J.
We argue that multinational headquarter-subsidiary relations in international business remain undertheorized as a result of a dearth of constructs that capture and reflect the complex facets of such relations. Based on data from 40 interviews conducted with senior managers in 25 multinational corporations designed to chart both the evolving competitive arena in which they operate and, against this backdrop, the changing nature of the corporations architecture and network of headquarter-subsidiary relations, we make the case for a focus on subsidiary mandates, corporate parenting styles and collective psychological contracts, three constructs which we believe offer explanatory power in landscaping the contemporary nature of these relations. We suggest that insights garnered from these constructs may offer the prospect of charting and explaining a greater range of issues pertinent to headquarter-subsidiary relationships and, from a theoretical perspective, could serve to renew aspects of the debate on such relationships. Arising from this we present a series of propositions designed to explicate the value of these constructs in opening up potential lines of enquiry in multinational headquarter-subsidiary relations.