Subsidiary Decision Making Autonomy in Downstream Strategic Sales Activities

Room G07 University House
Thursday 7 November 2019 (13:30-15:00)

Department of Strategy and International Business Research Seminar
Speaker: Axele Giroud (Professor of International Business at Alliance Manchester Business School and Visiting Professor with the University of Göthenburg)


The different roles played by subsidiaries in the multinational enterprise (MNE) are essential in balancing the needs for global coordination and local adaptation to sustain MNE performance. Building on extant international business (IB) literature on Headquarters (HQ)-subsidiary network relationships, and the concept of subsidiary importance, this paper incorporates new literature that suggests studies should focus on specific value chain activities, and contributes by exploring sales strategy – an under-researched downstream activity. Using a unique database collected by means of 10 face-to-face interviews and a postal survey with 52 subsidiaries and 22 HQs in Germany, we test for network antecedents and outcomes of whether decision making authority rests with the subsidiary. The results highlight the significance of external and internal embeddedness in explaining autonomy in a subsidiary’s sales strategic decision making, confirming the dominant role played by the local context. However, results challenge existing theory inasmuch as Subsidiary Importance is not found to be a significant driver. Our results show that, in an era of globalisation of sales, and internationalisation of retailers, managers must pay heed to the division of sales strategic decision making when consolidating the MNE global sales strategy.  

The Speaker

Dr Axèle Giroud is Professor of International Business at the Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, and Visiting Professor with the University of Göthenburg, Sweden. Her main research interests are: multinational enterprises' international strategy, MNE economic and social impact in host countries, inter- and intra-firm linkages, technology and knowledge transfers, and Asian Business She previously worked as Senior Economic Affairs Officer for the Division on Investment and Enterprise at UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development), and was President of the Euro-Asia Management Studies Association. She has completed several research reports for major organizations such as the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation, the British Department for International Development, the ASEAN Secretariat, the World Bank and the United Nations. She sits on the editorial board of several academic journals and has published extensively in journals such as Journal of World Business, Journal of International Marketing, Asian Business and Management, International Business Review, Management International Review, and World Development.