• Marlena Dzikowska


The chapter constitutes an introduction to the book focusing on functional responsibilities of the subsidiary within the value network of multinational enterprises. It sets the background to the studied research area and presents its importance to researchers, business practitioners, and policymakers. The importance of functional specialization and discrepancies in the functional responsibilities of subsidiaries has been visible in international management and international business literature for over 35 years. Nonetheless, for years the functional responsibilities of subsidiaries were positioned as a side topic to other aspects of multinational enterprises’ operations, with no uniform approach to studying the issue, except for acknowledging the existence of different value chain functions. The chapter explains the importance of applying a more structured approach to subsidiaries’ functional responsibilities within the multinational enterprise’s value network.


Functional responsibilities Value chain Functional specialization Evolution of subsidiaries MNE 


  1. Asmussen, Christian G., Torben Pedersen, and Charles Dhanaraj. 2009. Host-country environment and subsidiary competence: Extending the diamond network model. Journal of International Business Studies 40 (1): 42–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Astley, Graham W., and Edward Zajac. 1990. Beyond dyadic exchange: Functional interdependence and sub-unit power. Organization Studies 11 (4): 481–501.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Benito, Gabriel R.G., Brigitte Grøgaard, and Rajneesh Narula. 2003. Environmental influences on MNE subsidiary roles: Economic integration and the Nordic countries. Journal of International Business Studies 34 (5): 443–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Birkinshaw, Julian M. 1996. How subsidiary mandates are gained and lost. Journal of International Business Studies 27 (3): 467–496.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. ———. 2001. Multinational corporate strategy and organization: An internal market perspective. In Multinational corporate strategy and organization: An internal market perspective, ed. Neil Hood and Stephen Young, 55–79. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  6. Birkinshaw, Julian M., and Neil Hood. 1997. An empirical study of development processes in foreign-owned subsidiaries in Canada and Scotland. Management International Review 37 (4): 339–364.Google Scholar
  7. Birkinshaw, Julian M., and Allen J. Morrison. 1995. Configurations of strategy and structure in subsidiaries of multinational corporations. Journal of International Business Studies 26 (4): 729–754.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Birkinshaw, Julian M., and Torben Pedersen. 2009. Strategy and management in MNE subsidiaries. In The Oxford handbook of international business, ed. Alan M. Rugman, 2nd ed., 367–389. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Buaron, Roberto. 1981. New-game strategies. The McKinsey Quarterly 17(1), s. 24–40.Google Scholar
  10. Buckley, Peter, and Pervez N. Ghauri. 2004. Globalization, economic geography and strategy of multinational enterprises. Journal of International Business Studies 35 (2): 81–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Burger, Anže, Björn Jindra, Philipp Marek, and Matija Rojec. 2018. Functional upgrading and value capture of multinational subsidiaries. Journal of International Management 24 (2): 108–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chang, Sea J. 1996. An evolutionary perspective on diversification and corporate restructuring: Entry, exit, and economic performance during 1981–1989. Strategic Management Journal 17 (8): 587–612.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dörrenbächer, Christoph, and Jens Gammelgaard. 2006. Subsidiary role development: The effect of micro-political headquarters–subsidiary negotiations on the product, market and value-added scope of foreign-owned subsidiaries. Journal of International Management 12 (3): 266–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dzikowska, Marlena, and Ulf Andersson. 2018. A dynamic framework of subsidiary strategic roles. Paper presented at the annual meeting for the European International Business Academy, Poznań, December 13–15.Google Scholar
  15. Eckert, Stefan, and Frank Rossmeissl. 2007. Local heroes, regional champions or global mandates? Empirical evidence on the dynamics of German MNC subsidiary roles in Central Europe. Journal of East-West Business 13 (2): 191–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Galunic, D. Charles, and Kathleen M. Eisenhardt. 1996. The evolution of intracorporate domains: Divisional charter losses in high-technology, multidivisional corporations. Organization Science 7 (3): 255–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gluck, Frederick W. 1980. Strategic choice and resource allocation. The McKinsey Quarterly 1: 22–33.Google Scholar
  18. Hogenbirk, Annelies E., and Hans L. van Kranenburg. 2006. Roles of foreign owned subsidiaries in a small economy. International Business Review 15 (1): 53–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kogut, Bruce. 1983. Foreign direct investments as a sequential process. In The multinational corporation in the 1980s, ed. Charles P. Kindleberger and David B. Audretsch, 275–286. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  20. Manolopoulos, Dimitris. 2008. A systematic review of the literature and theoretical analysis of subsidiary roles. Journal of Transnational Management 13 (1): 23–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mikler, John. 2018. The political power of global corporations. Sydney: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  22. Mudambi, Ram, Torben Pedersen, and Ulf Andersson. 2014. How subsidiaries gain power in multinational corporations. Journal of World Business 49 (1): 101–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. OECD. 2005. Measuring globalisation. OECD economic globalisation indicators 2005. Paris: OECD.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. ———. 2010. Measuring globalisation. OECD economic globalisation indicators 2010. Paris: OECD.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Pearce, Robert. 1999. The evolution of technology in multinational enterprises: The role of creative subsidiaries. International Business Review 8 (2): 125–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Porter, Michael E. 1985. The competitive advantage: Creating and sustaining superior performance. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  27. Rugman, Alan M., and Alain Verbeke. 2001. Subsidiary-specific advantages in multinational enterprises. Strategic Management Journal 22 (3): 237–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rugman, Alan M., Alain Verbeke, and Wenlong Yuan. 2011. Re-conceptualizing Bartlett and Ghoshal’s classification of national subsidiary roles in the multinational enterprise. Journal of Management Studies 48 (2): 253–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Sass, Magdolna, and Andrea Szalavetz. 2013. Crisis and upgrading: The case of the Hungarian automotive and electronics sectors. Europe-Asia Studies 65 (3): 489–507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Schmid, Stefan. 2004. The roles of foreign subsidiaries in network MNCs – A critical review of the literature and some directions for future research. In European research on foreign direct investment and international human resource management, ed. Jorma Larimo and Sami Rumpunen, 237–255. Vaasa: Vaasa yliopiston Julkaisuja.Google Scholar
  31. Schmid, Stefan, and Daniel, Andrea. 2007. Are subsidiary roles a matter of perception?: A review of the literature and avenues for future research. ESCP-EAP working paper, Berlin.Google Scholar
  32. Schmid, Stefan, Philipp Grosche, and Ulrike Mayrhofer. 2016. Configuration and coordination of international marketing activities. International Business Review 25 (2): 535–547.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Scott, Pamela, and Patrick T. Gibbons. 2011. Emerging threats for MNC subsidiaries and the cycle of decline. Journal of Business Strategy 32 (1): 34–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sheehan, Norman T., and Nicolai J. Foss. 2009. Exploring the roots of Porter’s activity-based view. Journal of Strategy and Management 2 (3): 240–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Tippmann, Esther, Pamela Sharkey Scott, Marty Reilly, and Donal O’Brien. 2018. Subsidiary coopetition competence: Navigating subsidiary evolution in the multinational corporation. Journal of World Business 53 (4): 540–554.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wettstein, Florian. 2009. Political power and authority of multinational corporations. Redwood City: Stanford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. White, Roderick E., and Thomas A. Poynter. 1984. Strategies for foreign-owned subsidiaries in Canada. Business Quarterly 49 (2): 59–69.Google Scholar
  38. Yamin, Mohammad, and Pervez N. Ghauri. 2010. A critical assessment of the business network perspective on HQ control in multinational companies. In Managing the contemporary multinational: The role of headquarters, ed. Ulf Andersson and Ulf Holm, 125–137. Cheltenham: Elgar.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marlena Dzikowska
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of International CompetitivenessPoznań University of Economics and BusinessPoznańPoland

Personalised recommendations