Revisiting Single Case Studies in International Business Research: The Case of Maersk Line

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The aim of this paper is to study the consequences of rolling out a global corporate culture on a multinational company in order to streamline modes of communication between headquarter and local offices across different host markets in an attempt to optimise the functionality of the organisation per se. Our key focus in this connection is to understand how employees in the Danish shipping company Maersk Line’s headquarter in Copenhagen as well as in three local offices in Shanghai, Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur ‘read’ and respond towards such an optimisation process. We focus in particular on how employees, based on their ‘reading’ of this process, try to make sense of it in order to construct personal strategies as guidelines for how to navigating the organization to their own and the company’s advantage. The key question to research in this context is what elements enters into employees personal strategies when navigating a multinational organization? To answer this question we employ a phenomenological approach as a way of exploring the relationship between organizational changes and employers’ response towards them. We argue that single case studies provides us with the capability of providing deep insight into the inner workings of a multinational organisation. Furthermore, such kind of studies shows how various societal factors within a host market impact on the functionality of employees in local offices as well as on the relationship between the latter and headquarter.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationFrederiksberg
PublisherAsia Research Community, CBS
Number of pages37
Publication statusPublished - 2018
SeriesCopenhagen Discussion Papers


  • International business
  • Headquarter-subsidiary relations
  • Subsidiary-host markets relations
  • Employee
  • Strategies
  • Cross-cultural issues

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