اهمیت جانبیMNC، نقش تعبیه داخلی چیست؟
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|11510||2011||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Business Review, Volume 20, Issue 2, April 2011, Pages 151–162
This paper addresses the issue of how a subsidiary's internal and external embeddedness interact in generating the importance of the subsidiary vis-à-vis the MNC as a whole. We take previous findings of the positive impact of external embeddedness on a subsidiary's importance as our starting point and consider two questions: (a) how does the internal embeddedness of a subsidiary affect its organisational importance, and (b) how do a subsidiary's internal and external embeddedness interact in generating organisational importance? We test hypotheses reflecting these questions on data from 97 foreign subsidiaries belonging to Swedish multinationals. We find that internal embeddedness is negatively related to a subsidiary's importance to product development but unrelated to its importance to production development. We also find that internal embeddedness dilutes the positive impact of external embeddedness on a subsidiary's importance to production development. We discuss the findings in the light of the extant literature and consider implications for future research and MNC managers.
A significant development in the multinational corporation (MNC) subsidiary literature is the detailed investigation of the role of business networks in subsidiary development and impact in MNCs (Andersson and Forsgren, 2000, Andersson et al., 2002, Andersson et al., 2007, Forsgren et al., 2005, Ghauri, 1992 and Holm and Pedersen, 2000). One issue that these studies have investigated relates to the ‘organisational performance’ of the subsidiary within the MNC of which it is a member. By ‘organisational performance’ of a subsidiary, we mean, following Andersson, Forsgren, and Pederson (2001), the impact of the subsidiary on the rest of the MNC through its knowledge development and knowledge sharing activities. One particular manifestation of the ‘impact’ of the subsidiary within the MNC is the importance that other units in the organisation, and particularly the headquarters (HQ), attach to the subsidiary insomuch as it is of use to them as a source of knowledge or capability. Business network studies have shown that subsidiary importance is a robust construct and reflects the subsidiary's potential to contribute to technological and market development in the MNC ( Andersson et al., 2002) and is a key source of its bargaining strength (see, in particular, Andersson et al., 2007). Thus, for example, the basis of a subsidiary's status as a ‘centre of excellence’ within the MNC is the recognition by HQ that the subsidiary has gained expertise or capability in a particular function or activity of potential value to other units in the organisation ( Andersson & Forsgren, 2000). A subsidiary's importance to production or product development has been shown to be strongly linked to its ‘embeddedness’ in networks of business relationships between the subsidiary and a (small) number of customers and suppliers. While a subsidiary's business partners could be either sister affiliates in the MNC or external business organisations, most of the attention has been paid to subsidiaries’ business relations with external business organisations and to the impact of such relationships on the MNCs. With rare exceptions (Garcia-Pont et al., 2009 and Schmid and Schuring, 2003) internal subsidiary embeddedness has not been the focus of empirical investigation. Most empirical studies have only included measures/indicators of external business embeddedness in their analyses. However, subsidiaries are clearly simultaneously embedded in both external and internal networks (Forsgren et al., 2005). Even though the degree or ‘depth’ of internal embeddedness may be less than that of the external embeddedness, it is unlikely to be zero (Holm and Pedersen, 2000 and Yamin, 2005). An important question in this context is, given that a subsidiary's external network embeddedness enhances its importance to the MNC's competence development, does the subsidiary's internal embeddedness reinforce or dilute this effect? This paper addresses the issue of how a subsidiary's internal and external embeddedness interact in generating the technological importance of the subsidiary vis-à-vis the MNC as a whole. We take previous studies’ findings relating to the positive impact of external embeddedness on a subsidiary's organisational importance as our starting point and ask two research questions: (a) how does the internal embeddedness of a subsidiary affect its organisational importance, and (b) how do a subsidiary's internal and external embeddedness interact in generating organisational importance? In Section 2 we consider the distinctive features of the internal and external embeddedness of subsidiaries. In Section 3 we develop hypotheses relating to the impact of internal embeddedness on subsidiary importance and also with regard to the interaction between internal and external embeddedness in terms of a subsidiary's importance. Section 4 explains the methodology and data source utilised in this study and in Section 5 we discuss our findings.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This paper has addressed a hitherto neglected issue in the MNC subsidiary literature, namely the effects of internal business embeddedness on a subsidiary's organisational performance. Prior literature has not fully addressed how internal embeddedness may be distinctive in terms of its effect on key subsidiary roles, such as knowledge development. Current discussion of this issue has been of a rather general and conceptual character, with very limited empirical investigation of the effect of a subsidiary's internal embeddedness on its competence or capability development. The recent study by Garcia-Pont et al. (2009) does empirically investigate the impact of internal embeddedness on the subsidiary but its focus is not the subsidiary's importance but a different, though potentially related outcome, namely the subsidiary's ‘distinctiveness’. Moreover, Garcia-Pont et al. (2009) do not appear to shed any light on how internal and external embeddedness interact in generating outcomes for the subsidiary. Our aim, by comparison, has been to specifically build on existing studies which have demonstrated a significant and robust connection between external embeddedness and a subsidiary's importance for production and product development in the MNC of which it is a part. Specifically, we have investigated (1) whether a subsidiary's internal embeddedness has any effects on its importance, once we control for the level of external embeddedness, and other subsidiary characteristics that could potentially affect its importance; and (2) whether and how internal embeddedness may interact with external embeddedness in generating a subsidiary's importance. Overall our study confirms the extant knowledge in that external embeddedness is shown to have pre-eminence in generating a subsidiary's competence in both production and product development. However the finding that internal embeddedness negatively impacts a subsidiary's importance for product development and, especially, the finding of a negative interaction effect on a subsidiary's importance for production development, suggests that the extant studies’ near–exclusive focus on external embeddedness is unwarranted. Our study makes an important contribution by carefully delineating why internal embeddedness may be distinctive in terms of its impact on a subsidiary's importance. A further contribution is to highlight the possibility that internal embeddedness may actually reduce the positive impact of external embeddedness on the subsidiary's importance. Our study strongly suggests that general propositions linking a subsidiary's embeddedness and its strategic capabilities that are based only on the consideration of external (or, of course, only of internal) embeddedness, should be regarded with caution if not scepticism. It is surely necessary that propositions about subsidiary capabilities are based on a more holistic view of the impacts of all of its networks. Data limitations do not allow us to further investigate the rationale behind the rather uneven pattern of results with respect to interaction effects. In particular it would be important to investigate further whether (and why) internal embeddedness reduces the positive effect of external embeddedness on a subsidiary's importance for production development but not for product development. The findings with respect to interactions are somewhat counter-intuitive, as it is more plausible for the interaction effect to be negative with respect to product development. So clearly there is scope for further theoretical and empirical investigation of the interactions between internal and external embeddedness. Another line of research could beneficially investigate the impact of a subsidiary's embeddedness on its corporate ‘visibility’ and, specifically, whether the internal embeddedness does in fact enhance corporate ‘visibility’ more than external embeddedness. This would enrich our understanding of the process through which a subsidiary's importance may be gained, enhanced or damaged. In terms of practitioner implications, we note that a subsidiary's importance is, ultimately, ‘useful’ to it as the basis for it gaining influence on strategy within the MNC (Andersson et al., 2007). From this perspective, our findings suggest that in the struggle to gain influence, a subsidiary's technical and organisational capabilities may be more important than its involvement in internal MNC networks and hence its corporate ‘visibility’. Thus a subsidiary's capabilities may well attract the attention of HQ (Bouquet & Birkinshaw, 2008) even if it is not very ‘visible’ in terms of a high degree of internal corporate networking activity. Our findings imply that simultaneously benefitting from internal and external embeddedness may prove to be a tough balancing act and thus be managerially challenging. Managers may prudently reflect on the double-edged nature of corporate visibility: enhanced visibility without superior or perhaps even ‘average’ competence levels may well weaken the position of the subsidiary in the internal competition for resources and/or influence within the MNC.