Weight versus Voice: How Foreign Subsidiaries Capture the Attention of Corporate Headquarters

Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 51, No. 1, 2008

52 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2007

See all articles by Cyril Bouquet

Cyril Bouquet

Schulich School of Business

Julian Birkinshaw

London Business School

Abstract

This paper investigates how foreign subsidiaries gain attention from corporate headquarters (HQ.) Using detailed questionnaire and archival data on 283 subsidiaries in multinational enterprises, our analysis revealed three significant findings. First, attention decisions are partially based on the structural positions that subsidiary units occupy within the corporate system - their "weight." Second, subsidiaries also have a "voice" of their own which they can use to attract attention. Third, the relationship between subsidiary voice and HQ attention is moderated by two specific aspects of the subsidiary's historical situation - geographic distance and a downstream competence.

Keywords: attention, multinational corporations, corporate headquarters, foreign subsidiaries, resource allocation

JEL Classification: M10

Suggested Citation

Bouquet, Cyril D. and Birkinshaw, Julian, Weight versus Voice: How Foreign Subsidiaries Capture the Attention of Corporate Headquarters. Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 51, No. 1, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1031717

Cyril D. Bouquet (Contact Author)

Schulich School of Business ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, ON, Ontario M3J 1P3 M3J 1P3
Canada
1-416-736-2100, x. 44591 (Phone)
1-416-736-5762 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.yorku.ca/cbouquet

Julian Birkinshaw

London Business School ( email )

Sussex Place
Regent's Park
London, London NW1 4SA
United Kingdom

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