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Why Do Some Multinational Corporations Relocate Their Headquarters Overseas?

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  • Birkinshaw, Julian

    () (London Business School,)

  • Braunerhjelm, Pontus

    () (CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology)

  • Holm, Ulf

    () (Department of Business Studies, Uppsala University,)

  • Terjesen, Siri

    (Cranfield School of Management)

Abstract

This paper examines the decision by a multinational corporation (MNC) to relocate its business unit and/or corporate HQ overseas. We argue that business unit HQs move overseas in response to changes in the internal configuration of their unit’s activities and the demands of the product markets in which they operate, whereas corporate HQs move overseas is response to the demands of external stakeholders, in particular global financial markets and shareholders. Using data on 125 business unit HQs and 35 corporate HQs, we test and find support for these arguments. The research highlights important differences between corporate- and business-level strategy, and it suggests ways in which the theory of the MNC needs to be reconsidered.

Suggested Citation

  • Birkinshaw, Julian & Braunerhjelm, Pontus & Holm, Ulf & Terjesen, Siri, 2006. "Why Do Some Multinational Corporations Relocate Their Headquarters Overseas?," Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation 54, Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:cesisp:0054
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Multinational Corporation; Headquarters; Corporate Strategy; Internationalization;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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