The Impact of Subsidiary Autonomy on MNE Knowledge Transfer: Resolving the Debate

    Research output: Working paperResearch

    177 Downloads (Pure)


    This paper explores theoretical and empirical ambiguities in the literature concerning the impact of foreign subsidiary autonomy on intra-MNE knowledge transfer. We argue that understanding the interdependences between subsidiary autonomy and the use of different communication systems - e.g. person-based and electronic-based communication systems - is crucial to putting forward new insights in the debate. Based on the recent literature on strategic management, we hypothesize that the two communication systems call for different degrees of subsidiary autonomy and vice versa. Using a data set consisting of 307 dyads between foreign subsidiaries and their parent companies, we find that two distinctive configurations positively affect the extent of knowledge transfer from foreign subsidiaries to their parent companies. The first is the combination of a high degree of subsidiary autonomy and the use of person-based mechanisms, and the second is the combination of low subsidiary autonomy and the use of electronic-based mechanisms.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationFrederiksberg
    PublisherCenter for Strategic Management and Globalization
    Number of pages35
    ISBN (Print)9788791815294
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008
    SeriesSMG Working Paper


    • Reverse knowledge transfer
    • Person-based mechanisms
    • Electronic-based mechanisms
    • Subsidiary autonomy
    • Corporate-subsidiary decentralization

    Cite this