And the Subsidiary Lives On: Harnessing Complex Realities in the Contemporary MNE

Daniel S. Andrews, Phillip C. Nell*, Andreas Schotter, Tomi Laamanen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Managing multinational enterprise subsidiaries is a core facet of international business research. A shifting reality on the ground has triggered concerns around the waning relevance of the subsidiary because the MNE and its structure and processes have become increasingly complex. Consequently, more decentralized, responsive, and fluid organizational designs are now at the core of IB research. Juxtaposing recent arguments questioning subsidiary research altogether, we argue that IB scholars can explore and explain complex realities in the contemporary MNE without unnecessarily restricting the breadth of the field and giving up links to established research and theory. We reframe conversations around inward- and outward-looking perspectives, providing a path forward that emphasizes the importance of embracing the subsidiary concept in research reflecting today's complex business environment.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of International Business Studies
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)538-549
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023


  • Global strategy
  • International business
  • Multinational corporation
  • Structural differentiation
  • Subsidiary management

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