Headquarter Relocation in a Scandinavian Perspective

Dan Nielsen & Rikke Frøhlich

Student thesis: Master thesis


The purpose of this master thesis is to uncover the relatively new phenomenon of headquarter relocations in a Scandinavian perspective, and add to the limited academic research. While previous literature focus either on static locations of headquarters (Benito, Lunnan, & Tomassen, 2011; Birkinshaw, Braunerhjelm, Holm, & Terjesen, 2006; Forsgren, Holm, & Johanson, 1995), domestic relocation of headquarters (Strauss-Kahn & Vives, 2009) or have study a predetermined group of companies (Baaij, Mom, Van den Bosch, & Volberda, 2012; Barner-Rasmussen, Piekkari, & Bjorkman, 2007; Lunnan, Benito, & Tomassen, 2011)we investigate actual relocation events in and out of Scandinavia between 2000 and 2012. Further, we add to the academic research by investigating differences between relocations of corporate and divisional headquarters, inward and outbound relocations and relocations motivated by cost and value-adding. We construct the largest, known to us, database of actual cross-border relocation events in and out of Scandinavia during the period, large enough to be available through secondary data sources. The relocation events were identified from multiple secondary data sources in English, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian: company material, academic literature, consultancy reports and from the news database Factiva. We identify a total of 105 relocation events by 94 separate companies. All relocations are analyzed using a total of 12 location-specific and firm-specific variables. Data for variables was collected from company material and the global firm database ORBIS. Based on this extensive dataset we construct descriptive statistics for headquarter relocations within our scope of research. Based on differences within our three segmentations we find that six variables influence headquarter relocations according to our data. • Corporate taxation • Personal taxation • Institutional quality of the country • Foreign ownership • Size of the MNC measured on revenue • Age of the MNC During the period, Scandinavia had a net gain of headquarters, and the case can be made that Scandinavia is in fact an attractive location for headquarters, although we see differences in attractiveness of the individual countries.

EducationsMSc in Finance and Strategic Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages169