The Dynamic Response Process to Conflicting Institutional Demands in MNC Subsidiaries: An Inductive Study in the Sub-Saharan African E-commerce Sector

Alison E. Holm, Benoit Decreton, Phillip Christopher Nell, Patricia Klopf

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    How do subsidiary managers react when their headquarters managers make requests that conflict with the local environment in which the subsidiary operates? Using data from a subsidiary based in Sub-Saharan Africa and headquartered in Europe, we show that subsidiary managers need more time than usually expected to react to headquarters demands. Subsidiary managers sometimes postpone or test headquarters demands before deciding how to respond to them. In addition, subsidiary managers can implement headquarters demands in ways that do not fit the expectations from the headquarters or local actors (e.g. customers, suppliers), thus resulting in additional delays. Headquarters managers must be aware that implementation can take longer than they anticipate, particularly for subsidiaries located in environments that differ substantially from the environment of the headquarters.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalGlobal Strategy Journal
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)104-124
    Number of pages21
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


    • Institutional duality
    • MNC
    • Headquarters-subsidiary relations
    • Sub-Saharan Africa
    • E-Commerce

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