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

Coordinating decentralized research and development laboratories: A survey analysis

  • Manolopoulos, Dimitris
  • Söderquist, Klas Eric
  • Pearce, Robert
Registered author(s):

    The growing internationalization and strategic diversity of research and development (R&D) activities create important managerial challenges for the globally competing multinational enterprise (MNE). Driven by recent theoretical considerations and empirical studies, we provide complementary insights to the international management literature by investigating the impact of strategic variables (roles of decentralized R&D units) and some commonly studied FDI characteristics (industry, size and country of origin) on the coordination patterns used in the context of international R&D. As a conceptual background, five categories of coordination mechanisms are generated (structural, formal hierarchical, people-based, social and information technology platform infrastructures). Our findings, based on a quantitative inductive analysis, reveal that laboratory-related characteristics (roles, age and size) stand out as the most influential determinants of coordination mechanisms and instruments. The study also highlights that MNEs are moving towards a more complicated and multifaceted integration pattern of their decentralized technology strategies. Implications for international managers, academic researches and decision makers are discussed.

    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 Journal of International Management.

    Volume (Year): 17 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 (June)
    Pages: 114-129

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:intman:v:17:y:2011:i:2:p:114-129
    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. Criscuolo,Paola & Narula,Rajneesh, 2005. "Using multi-hub structures for international R&D: Organizational inertia and the challenges of implementation," Research Memorandum 025, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    2. Ambos, Bjorn, 2005. "Foreign direct investment in industrial research and development: A study of German MNCs," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 395-410, May.
    3. Pearce, Robert D., 1999. "Decentralised R&D and strategic competitiveness: globalised approaches to generation and use of technology in multinational enterprises (MNEs)," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(2-3), pages 157-178, March.
    4. Jon I Martinez & J Carlos Jarillo, 1989. "The Evolution of Research on Coordination Mechanisms in Multinational Corporations," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 20(3), pages 489-514, September.
    5. Anabel Marin & Martin Bell, 2006. "Technology spillovers from Foreign Direct Investment (FDI): the active role of MNC subsidiaries in Argentina in the 1990s," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(4), pages 678-697.
    6. 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.
    7. Frédérique Sachwald, 2008. "Location choices within global innovation networks: the case of Europe," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 364-378, August.
    8. Dimitratos, Pavlos & Lioukas, Spyros & Carter, Sara, 2004. "The relationship between entrepreneurship and international performance: the importance of domestic environment," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 19-41, February.
    9. Jonathon N. Cummings, 2004. "Work Groups, Structural Diversity, and Knowledge Sharing in a Global Organization," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(3), pages 352-364, March.
    10. David Cray, 1984. "Control and Coordination in Multinational Corporations," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 15(2), pages 85-98, June.
    11. Caves, Richard E, 1971. "International Corporations: The Industrial Economics of Foreign Investment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 38(149), pages 1-27, February.
    12. Jon I Martinez & J Carlos Jarillo, 1991. "Coordination Demands of International Strategies," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 22(3), pages 429-444, September.
    13. Björn Alecke & Christoph Alsleben & Frank Scharr & Gerhard Untiedt, 2006. "Are there really high-tech clusters? The geographic concentration of German manufacturing industries and its determinants," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 19-42, March.
    14. Mirza, Hafiz & Freeman, Nick J., 2007. "Foreign direct investment in East Asia's transitional economies: Perspectives on development and transition," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 139-141, April.
    15. Reger, Guido, 2004. "Coordinating globally dispersed research centres of excellence--the case of Philips Electronics," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 51-76.
    16. Sumantra Ghoshal & Harry Korine & Gabriel Szulanski, 1994. "Interunit Communication in Multinational Corporations," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 40(1), pages 96-110, January.
    17. Hakanson, Lars & Nobel, Robert, 1993. "Foreign research and development in Swedish multinationals," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(5-6), pages 373-396, November.
    18. Ghauri, Pervez, 1992. "New structures in MNCs based in small countries: A network approach," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 357-364, September.
    19. Walter Kuemmerle, 1999. "The Drivers of Foreign Direct Investment into Research and Development: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 30(1), pages 1-24, March.
    20. K Kim & J-H Park & J E Prescott, 2003. "The global integration of business functions: a study of multinational businesses in integrated global industries," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 34(4), pages 327-344, July.
    21. Eckhardt Bode, 2004. "The spatial pattern of localized R&D spillovers: an empirical investigation for Germany," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 43-64, January.
    22. B R Baliga & Alfred M Jaeger, 1984. "Multinational Corporations: Control Systems and Delegation Issues," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 15(2), pages 25-40, June.
    23. Welch, Denice E. & Welch, Lawrence S., 2006. "Commitment for hire? The viability of corporate culture as a MNC control mechanism," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 14-28, February.
    24. Ashish Arora & Andrea Fosfuri, 2000. "Wholly Owned Subsidiary Versus Technology Licensing in the Worldwide Chemical Industry," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 31(4), pages 555-572, December.
    25. Harzing, Anne-Wil, 1997. "Response rates in international mail surveys: Results of a 22-country study," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 6(6), pages 641-665, December.
    26. Hirschey, Robert C & Caves, Richard E, 1981. "Research and Transfer of Technology by Multinational Enterprises," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 43(2), pages 115-30, May.
    27. 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.
    28. Marschan-Piekkari, Rebecca & Welch, Denice & Welch, Lawrence, 1999. "In the shadow: the impact of language on structure, power and communication in the multinational," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 421-440, August.
    29. John Cantwell & Lucia Piscitello, 2007. "Attraction and deterrence in the location of foreign-owned R&D activities: the role of positive and negative spillovers," International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 1(1), pages 83-111.
    30. Paola Criscuolo & Rajneesh Narula & Bart Verspagen, 2005. "Role of home and host country innovation systems in r&d internationalisation: a patent citation analysis," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(5), pages 417-433.
    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:intman:v:17:y:2011:i:2:p:114-129. 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.