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Paper info: Subsidiary Positioning and Strategic Practices in a Values-led MNC


Subsidiary Positioning and Strategic Practices in a Values-led MNC


Sari Laari-Salmela, Tuija Mainela, Elina Pernu and Vesa Puhakka

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 32nd IMP-conference in Poznan, Poland in 2016.


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The present study approaches the internationalization of multinational companies (MNCs) as a question of positioning of their subsidiaries in relation to the dynamic market networks. Positioning, in turn, is seen as a question of strategic practices in the interactive spheres of the subsidiaries. Prior research on MNCs has primarily focused either on the internal organizing of the MNCs or embeddedness of subsidiaries into their local environment. Less attention has been paid to the practices through which the subsidiaries deal with the inevitable tensions at the intersection of the internal and external networks. The research question of the study is: How are the strategic practices of subsidiaries interrelated with the subsidiary positioning of a multinational company? Theoretically, we rely on the IMP view on strategy with focus on market positioning activity and the strategy-as-practice approach. In the empirical part of the study, we examine the practices of a forest machine industry multinational through longitudinal interview and archival data on three of its sales subsidiaries in Sweden, Russia, and the USA. We define the primary tensions at subsidiary interactive spheres and examine the strategic practices that shape the positioning of the subsidiaries. To conclude, we model the practice-based network positioning of MNC subsidiaries as a dynamic play of tensions.