Perspectives on Headquarters-Subsidiary Relationships in the Contemporary MNC

Volume Editors

Tina C. Ambos (University of Sussex)
Björn Ambos (University of St. Gallen)
Julian Birkinshaw (London Business School)

Series Editor

William Newburry (Florida International University)

Despite a broad stream of research on the interplay between strategy and structure and on conceptual models for managing multinational corporations, the debate on how to configure the MNC so that it is resilient, ambidextrous and adaptive continues to grow. In the center of this debate is the relationship between organizational units in the corporation. This includes the classic headquarters-subsidiary relationship, but also relationships between sister subsidiaries, corporate and regional HQs, and physical and virtual units.

Since the introduction of such concepts as the Heterarchy (Hedlund, 1986), the Transnational (Bartlett & Goshal, 1989) and the Metanational (Doz, Santos & Williamson, 2001), a large stream of subsidiary-level research has emerged in the international business literature. This has recently been countered by a new focus on the role and value-added of headquarters. But as MNCs in practice move towards more hybrid structures (e.g., Cisco with multiple HQs, or Tata Communications with virtual instead of physical centers), our perspective on subsidiary-HQ dyads has to be revisited.

The 2016 volume of Research in Global Strategic Management will focus on (new) perspectives on headquarters-subsidiary relationships in the context of the contemporary MNC. We invite submissions that provide conceptual or empirical answers to such questions as:

  • What are the new, contemporary models of the MNC, and how are HQ-subsidiary relationships conceptualized in this context?
  • Which factors do we need to take into account when theorizing on HQ-subsidiary relationships (formal, informal, relational, structural, etc)?
  • What is the evidence on and effect of distributed strategy-making at the subunit level, including subsidiary initiatives, idea scouting, etc?
  • What are the (value-adding) roles of corporate headquarters in managing the MNC?

Potential authors are also encouraged to consider other questions, as they are related to the (broadly-defined) phenomenon of HQ-subsidiary relationships.  We hope the volume will provide a forum for thought-provoking empirical research, theoretical ideas, discussions, and reviews. We are open to theoretical papers and empirical submissions using different methodological approaches.

If you are interested in being involved in this volume, please send a proposal (5 single-spaced pages, including a title page with all author details) to [log in to unmask] by April 30, 2015.

Submission Information

All submissions must represent original research not previously published elsewhere. Submissions will be subject to in-depth review.

Initial submission deadline: April 30, 2015
Feedback on initial submissions: May 31, 2015
Submission deadline for revised full papers: Sept 1, 2015
Projected volume publication: Spring 2016

Further information on the series can be found at:

William Newburry
Associate Chair and SunTrust Bank Professor
Florida International University
Dept. of Management & International Business, MANGO 447
E-mail: [log in to unmask]
Phone: (305)348-1103
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