Effective Autonomy, Organisational Relationships and Skilled Jobs in Subsidiaries

Jens Gammelgaard, Frank McDonald, Heinz Tüselmann, Christoph Dörrenbächer, Andreas Stephan

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    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore how the proportion of skilled jobs in subsidiaries is influenced by resource gaps created by subsidiary development.

    Design/methodology/approach – This paper develops a range of propositions that connect the constructs of effective autonomy and organisational relationships with subsidiary employment. Propositions are built on an extensive literature review based on such approaches as the resource-based view, transaction cost economics, network approach, and institutional theory.

    Findings – The framework developed in the paper suggests that a higher proportion of employment in skilled jobs in subsidiaries is most likely in cases where subsidiary entrepreneurship, role specialization, and absorptive capacity are higher. Conversely, the proportion is likely to be lower in cases of increased institutional distance from the parent company.

    Practical implications – The conceptual model can help parent company managers assess the likely effects of developments in effective autonomy and organisational relationships in their subsidiaries. Subsidiary managers can assess the possible impact of such factors as development of entrepreneurial activities, specialization within the multinational corporation supply chain and enhancement of absorptive capacity on the proportion of skilled jobs.

    Originality/value – This paper is the first to describe subsidiary development from a skilled job perspective. It further develops the concept of autonomy and introduces the term “effective autonomy”.
    TidsskriftManagement Research Review
    Udgave nummer4
    Sider (fra-til)366-385
    StatusUdgivet - 2011


    • Parent companies
    • Skilled workers
    • Organizational culture
    • Intergroup relations
    • Subsidiaries