Subsidiary Staffing, Cultural Friction, and Subsidiary Performance: Evidence from Korean Subsidiaries in 63 Countries
41 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2019
Date Written: January 17, 2019
Drawing from the notion of cultural friction and based on the agency theory rationalization of multinational enterprise (MNE) headquarter–subsidiary relationship, we examine the impact of cultural friction in foreign subsidiaries on subsidiary performance. We argue that cultural friction, arising due to a high presence of parent country nationals (PCNs) in culturally distant locations, has a detrimental effect on subsidiary performance. This effect is strongest when the cultural friction is at the top management team (TMT) level and weakest when friction is at the regular employee level. This relationship, however, is contingent on factors that work as drags or lubricants for cultural friction between PCNs and host country nationals (HCNs). We identify governance mode and language differences between home and host countries as drag parameters and host country experience and subsidiary interdependence as lubricants that condition the effect of cultural friction on subsidiary performance. Empirical findings based on a longitudinal sample of 7,495 foreign subsidiary observations of 467 Korean MNEs in 63 countries during 1990–2014 provide robust support for our theoretical predictions.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation