How Corporate Headquarters Add Value in the Digital Age

Jan Schmitt, Benoit Decreton, Phillip Christopher Nell

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How will digitalization influence the role of corporate headquarters (CHQs) and their relationships with their operating units? We recently asked 67 senior CHQ managers this question. The results suggest that CHQs expect to become more powerful and more involved in their operating units. These conclusions seem to be driven by perceptions that the ongoing digitalization will provide CHQ managers with more timely and better information. In this “Point of View,” we discuss the potential pitfalls of such a narrative. We also offer ideas for how to avoid mistakes and ensure that CHQs increase their value-added in times of digitalization. In particular, we suggest that CHQs place emphasis on social interactions for data to be effectively collected and analyzed, for decision-making power to be adequately allocated, and for CHQ involvement to be informed and necessary.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9
JournalJournal of Organization Design
Issue number1
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • Digitalization
  • Corporate strategy
  • Headquarters
  • Subunit
  • Centralization
  • Delegation
  • Involvement

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