Beyond Simple Configurations: The Dual Involvement of Divisional and Corporate Headquarters in Subsidiary Innovation Activities in Multibusiness Firms

Benoit Decreton, Henrik Dellestrand, Philip Kappen, Phillip Christopher Nell

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    Abstract

    We investigate “dual headquarters involvement”, i.e., corporate and divisional headquarters’ simultaneous involvement in innovation development projects hosted by subsidiaries of multibusiness firms. Drawing on selective hierarchical involvement theory and the literature on subsidiary network embeddedness, we analyze 83 innovation projects in 22 multibusiness firms and find that the number of partners in the projects, rather than subsidiary intra- and inter-divisional embeddedness acts as a driver of dual headquarters involvement. We do however find that intra- and inter-divisional embeddedness is positively related to dual headquarters involvement when the number of partners in the innovation project is relatively large. These results lend support to the idea that parenting in complex organizations entail complex headquarters structures. Our results suggest that we need to go beyond simple conceptualizations of headquarters and that considering different dimensions of the innovating subsidiary’s network helps in explaining dual headquarters involvement.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalManagement International Review
    Volume57
    Issue number6
    Pages (from-to)855–878
    Number of pages24
    ISSN0938-8249
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017

    Keywords

    • Parenting
    • Headquarters
    • Selective involvement
    • Subsidiary
    • Embeddedness
    • Innovation

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