Control in the multinational enterprise: The polycentric case of global professional service firms

Boussebaa, M. (2015) Control in the multinational enterprise: The polycentric case of global professional service firms. Journal of World Business, 50(4), pp. 696-703. (doi:10.1016/j.jwb.2014.11.002)

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This paper contributes to research on control in multinational enterprises (MNEs) by considering the case of global professional service firms (GPSFs). Drawing on fieldwork in four firms, it argues that GPSFs are seeking greater control over their subsidiaries in order to provide integrated cross-national services to global clients and, in the process, are becoming subject to a center-subsidiary tension similar to that observed in more conventional MNEs. However, and importantly, the paper also argues that the center-subsidiary tension operates differently in GPSFs. This is because central control in this particular context is pursued by not only headquarters but also subsidiaries based in core economies where major global clients are headquartered. Such polycentric control leads to the center-subsidiary tension expressing itself along not just the vertical (headquarters-subsidiary) axis but also the horizontal (inter-subsidiary) one and, in particular, along core-periphery lines. The research and managerial implications of these findings are discussed.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Boussebaa, Professor Mehdi
Authors: Boussebaa, M.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:Journal of World Business
Published Online:22 January 2015
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 Elsevier
First Published:First published in Journal of World Business 50(4):696-703
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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