IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Headquarters involvement and efficiency of innovation development and transfer in multinationals: A matter of sheer ignorance?

  • Ciabuschi, Francesco
  • Forsgren, Mats
  • Martín Martín, Oscar
Registered author(s):

    We compare two theoretical perspectives on the knowledge situation of headquarters (HQ) in multinational corporations: the bounded rationality perspective and the sheer ignorance perspective. We claim that these perspectives lead to different expectations when it comes to HQ's role and the effects of HQ involvement in innovation processes at the subsidiary level. More specifically, we examine the impact of HQ involvement on the efficiency of 71 subsidiary innovation projects. The findings show that HQ involvement in innovation development and transfer has a negative rather than a positive impact on efficiency in both processes. We contribute by showing and suggesting that the sheer ignorance perspective might provide a more accurate portrayal of the HQ knowledge situation than the bounded rationality perspective does. This study furthers understanding of the role of HQ in the contemporary, knowledge-creating multinational.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Business Review.

    Volume (Year): 21 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 130-144

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:iburev:v:21:y:2012:i:2:p:130-144
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    Order Information: Postal:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Birkinshaw, Julian & Holm, Ulf & Thilenius, Peter & Arvidsson, Niklas, 2000. "Consequences of perception gaps in the headquarters-subsidiary relationship," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 321-344, June.
    2. Nicolai J. Foss & Torben Pedersen, . "Transferring Knowledge in MNCs: The Role of Sources of Subsidiary Knowledge and Organizational Context," IVS/CBS Working Papers 00-12, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy, Copenhagen Business School.
    3. Ulf Andersson & Mats Forsgren & Ulf Holm, 2007. "Balancing subsidiary influence in the federative MNC: a business network view," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 38(5), pages 802-818, September.
    4. Sumantra Ghoshal & Christopher A Bartlett, 1988. "Creation, Adoption and Diffusion of Innovations by Subsidiaries of Multinational Corporations," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 19(3), pages 365-388, September.
    5. Liliana Pérez-Nordtvedt & Ben L. Kedia & Deepak K. Datta & Abdul A. Rasheed, 2008. "Effectiveness and Efficiency of Cross-Border Knowledge Transfer: An Empirical Examination," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(4), pages 714-744, 06.
    6. Laura Poppo, 2003. "The Visible Hands of Hierarchy within the M-Form: An Empirical Test of Corporate Parenting of Internal Product Exchanges," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(2), pages 403-430, 03.
    7. Mark Casson, 1994. "Why are Firms Hierarchical?," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(1), pages 47-76.
    8. Nicolai J. Foss, . ""Coase vs Hayek": Economic Organization in the Knowledge Economy," IVS/CBS Working Papers 2001-6, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy, Copenhagen Business School.
    9. Teece, David J, 1977. "Technology Transfer by Multinational Firms: The Resource Cost of Transferring Technological Know-how," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 87(346), pages 242-61, June.
    10. Foss, Nicolai J, 1997. "On the Rationales of Corporate Headquarters," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 313-38, March.
    11. Sea-Jin Chang & Arjen van Witteloostuijn & Lorraine Eden, 2010. "From the Editors: Common method variance in international business research," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 41(2), pages 178-184, February.
    12. Israel M. Kirzner, 1997. "Entrepreneurial Discovery and the Competitive Market Process: An Austrian Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(1), pages 60-85, March.
    13. Yang, Zhilin & Wang, Xuehua & Su, Chenting, 2006. "A review of research methodologies in international business," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 601-617, December.
    14. Cyril Bouquet & Allen Morrison & Julian Birkinshaw, 2009. "International attention and multinational enterprise performance," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 40(1), pages 108-131, January.
    15. Peter J Buckley & Niron Hashai, 2009. "Formalizing internationalization in the eclectic paradigm," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 40(1), pages 58-70, January.
    16. Ingmar Bj�rkman & Wilhelm Barner-Rasmussen & Li Li, 2004. "Managing knowledge transfer in MNCs: the impact of headquarters control mechanisms," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 35(5), pages 443-455, September.
    17. Tenenhaus, Michel & Vinzi, Vincenzo Esposito & Chatelin, Yves-Marie & Lauro, Carlo, 2005. "PLS path modeling," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 159-205, January.
    18. Ram Mudambi & Pietro Navarra, 2004. "Is knowledge power? Knowledge flows, subsidiary power and rent-seeking within MNCs," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 35(5), pages 385-406, September.
    19. John E. Ettlie & William P. Bridges & Robert D. O'Keefe, 1984. "Organization Strategy and Structural Differences for Radical Versus Incremental Innovation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(6), pages 682-695, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:iburev:v:21:y:2012:i:2:p:130-144. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.