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The impact of corporate and national cultures on decentralization in multinational corporations

  • Williams, Christopher
  • van Triest, Sander
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    We develop and test a model of multinational corporation (MNC) decentralization in which the allocation of decision rights to subsidiaries is explained by aspects of both internal corporate culture as well as external national cultures. We extend the literature on MNC decentralization by testing the impact of both of these factors as determinants within the same model. Drawing on management control theory as a conceptual platform, we argue that the assignment of decision rights to a subsidiary in the MNC is impacted by corporate innovativeness and shared values, as well by aspects of home and host country cultures. We test our model on a sample of 119 MNC subsidiary managers drawn from a diverse range of industries and locations. The findings provide support to the proposition that corporate innovativeness positively impacts the decision to decentralize, whilst also indicating that home country individualism and host country uncertainty avoidance have a significant influence. The findings challenge established international management logic with respect to shared values--this variable is found to have a negative relationship with decentralization. Overall cultural distance is not found to be significant.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0969593109000043
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Business Review.

    Volume (Year): 18 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 2 (April)
    Pages: 156-167

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:iburev:v:18:y:2009:i:2:p:156-167
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