The evolution of innovation capability in multinational enterprise subsidiaries: Dual network embeddedness and the divergence of subsidiary specialisation in Taiwan
This paper examines how innovation-related capabilities for production, design and marketing develop at the subsidiary level within multinational enterprises (MNEs). We focus on how subsidiary autonomy and changing opportunities to access external (host country) sources of capability contribute to the accumulation of specialist capabilities in five Taiwan-based MNE subsidiaries in the semiconductor industry. Longitudinal analysis shows how the accumulation process is subject to discontinuities, as functional divisions are (re)opened and closed during the lifetime of the subsidiary. A composite set of innovation output measures also shows significant variations in within-function levels of capability across our sample. We conclude that subsidiary specialisation and unique subsidiary-specific advantages have evolved in a way that is strongly influenced by the above factors.
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