Printer Friendly

Marketing Home and Away: Perceptions of Managers in Headquarters and Subsidiaries.

Accompanying the irreversible trend of globalization, management of the tensions between MNCs and their subsidiaries has become a major issue. In this regard, the present study attempts to reveal differences in the perceptions of the marketing process between home office marketing departments at MNCs, and the marketing departments of their subsidiaries in Hong Kong. The quantitative and qualitative findings suggest that important divergence between home and away in various aspects of the marketing process exists. This divergence may lead to poor relationships, dysfunctional conflict, and ineffectiveness.

The dominant theme of marketing in the new millennium is globalization, with all its promises and its darknesses. Whatever those promises and whatever those darknesses, there is no doubt that what was once the province of the provinces is now the province of the world. Globalization--fueled by the forces of liberalization, deregulation, privatization, free marketism (with the fall of the communist command economy), and, technology -- has transformed national companies into nervously striving international ones [1]. The process of becoming a world player has been undertaken many times and in many ways. From indirect export to foreign direct investment is a path that organizations have traveled as they change from a local player to a multi-local world-girdler. As the company expands its ambit and its orbit, alternatives appear: joint ventures, soft-edged partnerships, strategic alliances, mergers, and a rainbow of other choices.

Underlying them all is the ever-present challenge: How do you draw productive parallels from your experiences "at home" to seek guidance in the fundamental struggle between centralization and decentralization as the world player faces the daunting task of who will control what where, in as many as 200 countries around the world, most far away from the home base. What and where will be the focus of activities and the locus of control? And who-whether at home or away perceives what, as all of this is happening?

The temptation to seize and keep power "at home," and so turn the purported multinational into an archaic empire, is inviting. The love of power turns easily into lust. With this "imperial" mentality, relations between the home office and its branches all around the world become matters not only of rationality (if bounded), but of desperate willfulness as well. The multinational corporation often takes the course of empire, and not true world-girdling enterprise. Why empire? "Because, as the ancients noted, of men we know and of gods we suspect: they rule where they may. Because when you are in Rome, you truly believe that all roads lead to Rome, and you expect everybody to do as the Romans do, whether or not they're Romans, and whether or not they live in Rome" (Chan & Holbert, 1994).

OBJECTIVES

The objectives of this study were to understand the relations between home office marketing departments at MNCs and the marketing department in one MNC subsidiary. The focus was to understand how people in home office and subsidiary marketing departments saw various key issues of flow and operations (see Table 1); who had control over such marketing stages as mission, strategy, and tactics (see Table 2 and 3) and over specific elements in specific activities (see Table 4); and how effectively these activities were implemented (see Table 5).

A REVIEW OF THE RELATED LITERATURE

The literature is vast and extensive, with views being expressed even before the decade of the 1980s when the awareness and analysis of globalization and its problems began in earnest to take center stage, perhaps propelled by the seminal 1983 article by Levitt on one potential world for products. A re view of the literature can be grouped under four headings (although, obviously, themes interweave, as is the nature of things in the world of business).

First, Flows of information and knowledge, with the attendant themes of cultures and values, and all the difficulties inherent therewith.

Wiechmann (1974) began to see is sues of cultural and economic diversity decades ago, and urged respect for these issues. Hofstede (1980), a pivotal figure, of course, in thinking about variation in culture in business around the world, pointed out areas where clashes in values can be manifested. Rugman (1980) asked how the tacit knowledge stored in MNCs is used. And Alexander and Swinith (1987) looked at yet an other dimension of culture: working to wards a framework for assessing the broader social impact of the MNC.

Bamberg (1990) explored the global communication knowledge network, while Allen (1990) reminded us that indifferent places you have to worry about different things. Indeed, learning about it all (we speak today quite frequently about the "learning organization") is a theme often heard too. Learning can be from our partners--Hamel (1991); it is surely more evolutionary than ever in our technology-centered age--Blackwell, Ajami, and Stephan (1991); and must extend beyond traditional business concerns to increasingly inescapable matters like ecology and environment--Choucri (1991).

Working in the area of home- and host-country relationships, Selmer and de Leon (1993) discussed how home country ideas pervade the host-country work atmosphere; they found that however practices learned at home may be put to one side consciously, they nonetheless affect the way things work away.

Selmer (1993) found that sometimes expatriate supervisors of local managers did get it right, even better than locals. Still on the issue of flows in home-away relationships, Nohria and Ghoshal (1994) suggest that both a "differential fit" (adjusting a relationship by the home forces to better fit the conditions of subsidiaries) and a "shared value" approach both can be viable in forging more constructive relationships. To help improve relationships, Stephan, Helms, and Haynes (1995) and Abraham and Zikiye (1996) focus on anxiety, acculturation differences, and pre-departure training for upcoming expatriates. Hurn (1996) examined the possibilities of cultural synergies in such predeparture training: what is alike as well as what is different, and constructively utilizing such ideas over seas.

Lehrer and Asakawa (1999) note that American and Japanese MNCs engage in "unbundling" of their European operations: the Americans by delegating tasks to local subsidiaries, and the Japanese by at least reviewing their previously monolithic (basically ethnocentric) approach to their European subsidiaries, especially in research labs. And finally, possible incongruities between two expressions of culture--national and corporate, incongruities inherent in the wake of MNC expansion both successful and unsuccessful--while often explored implicitly in the literature, is the specific focus of a piece by Morden (1995), a piece which returns our thinking to the well-know modes of MNC expansion: ethnocentric, polycentric, geocentric, ecocentric, eccentric, and undoubtedly many more.

Another area of exploration may be termed Operations: getting the home-away relationship to work in an atmosphere (always) of marketing opportunity and change. Doz and Prahalad (1981) and Dymsza (1984) studied strategic change and opportunity, the former opining that a truly global view can only occur through greater head quarters control, which may be opposed by subsidiaries. Ayal and Zif (1979)concerned themselves with adaptation to local markets and found surprising opportunities therein. Lannon (1991) suggests that big trends and target groups do in fact cross borders readily, while other things (like executional elements) do so less easily. Finally, Robinson (1995) notes that American manufacturers in Japan generally leave "downstream" tasks (e.g., sales and after-sales service) to subsidiaries, while "upstream" activities (e.g., R&D and manufacturing) are conducted either at home or jointly. Interdependence is related to training activity focused on the parent firm's core competence, and to assessment activities. Kotabe, Sahey, and Aulakh (1996) discuss the process of linking technology and strategy in the global marketing arena. They found that technology, with its frequent tactical appeal, must be effectively linked to strategic considerations, both longer term and global.

A third stream involves the matter of Control, with its attendant issues of autonomy, centralization, and decentralization of power. Buzzell (1986) explored the notions of centralization, decentralization, integration, and control in MNCs. He wrote about consistency and (themes that would surface later in "think global, act local", "think local, act global", "glocaliation", "globalization," etc.) standardization or adaptation of strategies. Gates and Egelhoff (1986) suggest that degree of centralization seems to center more on company-wide conditions than on the state of subsidiary conditions. The more complex the company's organization, the greater the degree of decentralization. Hite and Fraser (1990) focus on the levels of centralization and decentralization -- strategic, executional, and evaluative -- and their coordination. There is no monolith here; each level must be looked at in its own right to try to get the right balance and the right result. And Kotabe, Sahey, and Aulakh (1996) discuss the process of linking technology and strategy in the global marketing arena. They found that the shorter-run and mechanistic realm of technology must work in concert with the longer-run and humanistic world of strategic management. (This work echoes a paradigm of the planning process from mission to scenarios to strategy to tactics to execution to control to feedback to reappraisal to feedforward, and is useful for decontstructing what is often an emotive monolith.) Boyacigiller (1990) studied the opposition of hierarchy (central authority power, much out of fashion to day, when "empowerment" and "enablement" are the bywords) and socialization (the home office person "on the ground" in the subsidiary acting as intermediary between home and away). He found that what was desired at home could often best (and perhaps only) be complemented by the home office person comfortable in both worlds. And Picard, Boddewyn, and Grosse (1998), in a longitudinal study, report an increase in the relative power of subsidiaries in MNC international marketing decisions. A reason behind this was the increase in subsidiaries' own production: as more is produced in subsidiaries' factories for the markets where they are located, a shift in power to subsidiaries follows quite naturally.

Finally, Conflict among parts of the world-girdler and coordination of its activities, as well as efforts at integration is frequently written about. Hulbert, Brandt, and Richers (1980) focused on who actually writes the subsidiary's marketing plan and who works to coordinate it with world plans. The role of the subsidiary may be more limited in this than it might appear, as what may most matter is often how the home office works to move from often local tactical to worldwide strategic considerations. Boyacigiller (1990) studied the notion of a uniformity of policy for all subsidiaries and local re actions thereto, pointing out that what is conceived in the home office may seem to be (and actually can be) counterproductive when it has to be carried out everywhere. Rudy (1975) warns that lo cal flexibility and response are to be given serious consideration before worldwide policy statements are promulgated.

Inherent in all of this, of course, is the notion of conflict. And indeed interpersonal conflict in business involving cultures open and traditional, cultural adjustments to be made by MNC expatriates, and intercultural transfers of skills, are frequent themes in the literature also.

Elsayed-Elkhouly (1996) ties his thoughts to the five conflict-handling modes of dominating, integrating, compromising, avoiding, and obliging. All must be used, and with care, looking at the nature of the conflict and at the nature of the cultures involved. Kim and Mauborgne (1991) focused on the process of trust building and found that without it no use of technology or strategy or any sort of planning was likely to work.

RESEARCH DESIGN

From a review of the literature, and the previous experiences of the authors, a questionnaire (interested readers may approach the authors for the questionnaire) was devised to study the perceptions of marketing people in the home office and away.

As noted already, we used two inter-locked samples: U.S. companies that had branches in Hong Kong, and those Hong Kong companies with branches in the U.S. The samples were independent--neither home office nor branch knew that we were surveying the other. For ethical reasons, we did not, of course, attempt in any way to identify or "match" home office and branch responses company-by-company, but the linkage provided potent ideas on how the company at home sees what's going on in this home-and-away relationship, and how the branch sees it.

Sources for questions and models came from work by Wiechmann and Pringle (1975), and Picard (1977). In their studies, they sought to ferret out perceptions that exist about home office-subsidiary relationships among marketing managers in the U.S. with headquarters executives, and European or U.S. subsidiary managers.

Issues, such as home office emphasis on short-term results and burdensome reporting, and subsidiaries' perceived lack of emphasis on long-term strategy, were noted by Wiechmann and Pringle. Picard (1977) reported that U.S. subsidiaries of the European companies enjoyed a great deal of autonomy in their marketing operational decisions, and less so in product policy decisions.

Now, decades after these studies and with the emergence of Asia as an economic force and the reemergence of the U.S. from out of the shadow of Japan, we sought to explore home and away relations again--how the marketing process is viewed from home and away.

The methodology adopted in this study was a very direct one. We used the Fortune 500 as our initial frame of reference. Then, we went over the membership list of the Hong Kong American Chamber of Commerce to come up with the list of Fortune 500 companies that had subsidiaries in Hong Kong. We then sent 200 questionnaires both to the parent companies and to the subsidiaries in Hong Kong. We were able to obtain 56 usable responses from headquarters and 66 usable responses from subsidiaries. The profile of responding headquarters people and the profile of responding subsidiary people are obtainable from the authors.

PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A QUANTITATIVE LOOK

Marketing organizations exist in both a micro and macro context, having to concern themselves with both essentially internal and essentially external issues. There are the internal--micro--issues of the 4Ps of product, price, place, and promotion, and endless other Ps such as package, premise, promise, proposition, positioning, personality, profitability, and so forth, all matters, at least notionally, that are under the control of the organization to do something about them. The macro Cs, like change, competition, crisis, culture, are external.

In the study of home and away in marketing, however, there is a unique third arena of worries (and opportunities). This is the often-ruffled relationship between headquarters and subsidiary.

Perceptions differ significantly on many statements (those 10 listed in Table 1) regarding the broad overall relationship between home and away marketing processes. An analysis suggests that these perceptions fall into two broad categories, those centered on "people" (marked with a PE)--personal interaction issues of a pre-IT sort--and those centered on more "business oriented" matters (marked with a BC for those that may be further subdivided into primarily "cultural" issues; and "operations" matters, marked BO).

Of all the issues, visits from home office people to subsidiaries (Item 1) showed the widest diversity: home office people considered them quite productive, while subsidiary people were less enthusiastic, almost negative. Subsidiary people also were less likely to believe that their ideas were welcomed (Item 5), or that they themselves were understood (Item 6) or involved (Item 10). Moreover, there was concern among subsidiaries that knowledge--home to away or branch (Item 8 and 9)--was being effectively transmitted.

Cultural issues affecting the business (Item 2 and 3) were also sources of divergent perspectives: backgrounds may differ within the subsidiary more than at home, and loyalties may have a different epicenter--loyalty to people, as in traditional cultures-such as in Asia--rather than to the organization per se, as in open cultures--such as in North America and Western Europe. Finally, home offices tend to think that subsidiaries don't focus enough on the long-tem; subsidiaries disagreed (Item 4), and want more flexibility to handle changes in local conditions (Item 7).(Data on items on which there were no significant differences are shown in Table 2.)

As suggested in Table 3, both home office and subsidiary perceive that they have high degrees of autonomy on a broad array of issues presented. Each sees itself as having the most autonomy in tactics, with lesser degrees on such "higher-level" stages as mission and co ordination with worldwide activities. Certainly, then, while there are vast differences in perception about broader issues involving people and the business, when it comes down to the major steps in the planning process (mission to tactics), there appears to be a feeling that each is able to run their shows. Moreover (Table 4), both sides appear to be comfortable with their perceptions.

So, if there is broad agreement about autonomy and satisfaction with the perceived levels thereof when it comes to these major steps in the planning process, what about perceptions and satisfactions when it comes to specific marketing activities? Once again, perceptions about "who runs the show" in specific activities are remarkably similar (Table 5). Each side sees itself as having maximum autonomy in "pro motion" [subsidiaries are especially high on this: 1.95 on our 1 (maximum autonomy) to 5 (minimum) scale]. The only statistically significant difference is in "distribution": subsidiaries see themselves as much more autonomous (2.19); home office much less so (2.61). Certainly an accurate appraisal of such a key activity "on the ground"--getting the product to where it will be sold.

On three elements-logo, name, and pricing-subsidiaries are statistically significantly more discontented with their perceived levels of autonomy than are their home office counterparts.

Finally, what are the problems perceived in this business of relationships between home and away, where the marketing job is divided now between headquarters and subsidiary?

We offered five areas (cultural, economic, legal, political, and social) and asked both our home and away respondents that posed problems. The responses are summarized in Table 7 (percents citing problems).

The cultural problems stemmed from differences in perception of each other's ways. All the things that culture involves were involved here: values, customs, prescriptions, and proscriptions, all in the context of language is sues, all adding up to difficulties in accepting marketing programs (see Table 8).

PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A QUALITATIVE LOOK

Perceptions of the marketing gulf and marketing bridge between home office and subsidiaries may be further examined by looking at a wealth of open ended responses to questions focusing on these issues.

From the home office respondents came comments focusing on the themes that the center has greater vision and needs to impose this vision on the subsidiaries, while the subsidiary needs to be closer to the market in time and place. The following are some typical responses by home office marketing personnel:

* The home office is more concerned with a "world class" product or image.

* The home office emphasizes the company's position as a mass marketer.

* The home office deals primarily with near-term large programs.

* Subsidiaries often emphasize advertising and sales promotion in marketing.

* Home office marketing focuses on strategies and worldwide initiatives.

* The home office people are strategy makers, conceptualizing based on on-site and off-site surveys and observations.

* The home office likes standardization while the local office seeks specific solutions.

* The home office tends to be thinking so far ahead of what is executed today in the subsidiary that the marketing perspective is often not grounded in an evolutionary and real-world-focused process.

* Subsidiaries tend to have a more parochial view of the marketing needs of the whole company.

* Subsidiaries tend to be closer to clients in longer periods of time than the home office.

* The transition from home-based to international to global marketing is difficult, and requires a learning process.

* A critical aspect of a successful marketing program is knowledge transfer from home office to subsidiaries and vice versa.

* The more global you are, the more local you must be to succeed.

* It takes a lot of coordination and teamwork to get things done.

From the subsidiaries, we heard of the need for understanding of local is sues, with their obvious need for shorter reaction times and cultural sensitivity. Some examples follow:

* Home office people do not understand that cultural differences necessitate alterations in brand presentations.

* The home office tries to reserve the "right" to develop all strategy, and often lacks the details and under standing of local markets.

* The days when subsidiaries were staffed by incompetent locals are long gone.

* The home office tends to be rigid and methodical, emphasizing process and a global approach, while ignoring country-to-country differences.

* The home office focus is on big, multiyear, projects and strategies with dubious relevance to subsidiaries' perceptions of reality.

* Marketing in the head office is highly "consolidatory," that is, it emphasizes "known" or "core" areas.

* Subsidiaries tend to favor products produced in their own country or region rather than looking through out the world.

* Home office people have a supply side mentality: they are driven by technology improvements, competition and their own organizational requirements.

* Home office marketing thinks of products as for big customers, and thus often do not think of the product in detail.

* Corporate headquarters stress "product" marketing, since they are close to the factory and to R&D.

* Home office emphases are on list price and strict terms and conditions, and a consistent approach to all customers.

* Home office marketing people always position themselves as "leader," and create all sorts of marketing activities for the subsidiary to follow.

* There is a general tendency for home office marketing to impose "cookie cutter" strategies around the world in the name of "global marketing".

* Listening and observing with a real open mind can forestall most problems.

* Market strategy and vision should be set at home office with subsidiary input to formulate a common "theme" for a consistent global message.

And just a final citation from a subsidiary marketer, which makes reference to the tumultuous Asian milieu in which he works. Whereas our study has a U.S.-Hong Kong basis, the findings have a universal resonance. Nonetheless, this pungent, geographically specific, reference is instructive of what we deal With in home and away marketing management matters.

Home office marketing has problems grasping the importance of economic and cultural differences affecting Asian markets. Different perceptions of time and urgency underlie most business deals in Asia. Most of our customers are self-made and entrepreneurial types, as opposed to structured public company customers in Europe and the U.S. There are huge differences in this regard, and there is superficial knowledge in home marketing circles of the Asian market in genera:.

CONCLUSIONS

The study sought to see to what degree perceptions of the marketing process, by home office people on the one hand and by subsidiary people on the other, were congruent or incongruent.

Overall, it appears as if perceptions regarding who has what degree of autonomy over various stages in the marketing process (from mission to tactics) are more congruent than incongruent. That is, there does not seem to be a major problem in this area, since each side sees itself as having a high level of autonomy over tactics and less over mission and coordination, and each seems comfortable with that.

As far as specific marketing, actions are concerned, there is somewhat less congruence, but nothing of major proportions. Both sides see themselves as having a high degree of autonomy, especially in promotion, where subsidiaries see themselves as having maximum autonomy. Subsidiaries and home are statistically significantly different only in terms of "distribution"--where, expectedly, subsidiaries see themselves as very much autonomous, home people very much less so. Again, the relative positions of the two sides seem acceptable to each, except for logo, name, and pricing, on which subsidiaries are less satisfied than their home office counterparts.

It is on broader issues that perceptions clash. Conflicts are evident on "people-centered" matters. where reaches for power are both parts of the game and a cause of conflict. Visits to branches by home office people (deemed unprofitable by the former), subsidiaries' beliefs that their ideas are not being listened to, that they are not being understood, and that knowledge is somehow not being passed on to them well enough, either from home or from other branches, are core issues that form the basis of conflict.

Among the broader issues with a more direct business focus, "culture-centered" ones were prominent. Indeed cultural clashes echoed throughout our reading of answers from all managers. Subsidiary managers stated that home office people did not fully appreciate that there could be different patterns of loyalty in branches--perhaps more loyalty to people than to the host organization--and that there could be more cultural diversity in branches that at home. Among "operations-centered" issues, home office people believed that subsidiary personnel were often too short-term oriented, and less engaged with longer-term strategic matters.

IMPLICATIONS

The running of the international business--insofar as the views of people at headquarters and people at subsidiaries are concerned--is broadly seen as more smooth than ruffled. Perceptions of people home and away seem both accurate and congruent: seeing themselves as having less autonomy over the higher-level issues, like mission, and more over tactics. On such micro issues as logo, name, and pricing, subsidiary managers were dissatisfied over their level of autonomy. They believe that distribution processes (pricing falls under this rubric) should be in their realm to autonomously run. Certainly that call should be listened to, as well as perhaps-sensitive local issues like logo and name. These would seem to be home-office matters, but without reference to local input, mistakes--quite avoidable--can be made. Note only denotation, but also connotation, can offend as well as please. Compromises must, of course, always be made between the quest for standardization and the appeal of differentiation, but decisions need to be made after serious consideration of what all the voices--home and away--have to say.

The business itself would benefit by constant reference to the consequences of the NIH ("Not Invented Here") Syndrome ("If I didn't think of it first, it can't be any good!"). It is apparent that subsidiary managers do not seek control except in matters like distribution: but do seek to be listened to, to (for example) have their points of view laid out at the home office in advance of home office visits to the subsidiary (visits seen as largely unproductive), and to be enabled to share knowledge from the home office and around the branches. Whatever the reality (and the reality is, probably, that global decisions are made at home, and local ones on the ground), the need to respect the views that come from the home office's breadth of vision and the field's depth of understanding is clear, and useful insights thereon can be gained from our qualitative as well as our quantitative work.

The issues involved with culture are salient. If we think of it (among other possible ways of thinking about it) as what makes "us" "us" and "them" "them", then mutual respect by "us" of "their" culture, and by "them" of "ours" seems a necessary ingredient for business success, when, in fact, "we" are clearly "here," and "they" are clearly "there." The local culture (both in the subsidiary and in the market in which they are located) may indeed orient itself more towards "people" and "relationships," rather than towards "organizations" and "structure," a characteristic of "traditional" culture. Such emphases as more time and more circumspection in business dealings, em phases perhaps somewhat alien to home office people with a more "open", "modern," and "rationalistic" view, may well be the keys to success locally. What must be emphasized, within a catholic perspective, and without be coming parochial about it, are local views and local needs. "Think local" must coexist with "think global".

Further research into multinational companies having to, willy-nilly, deal with views and ways of employees (and customers) coming from both "traditional" and "open" cultural back grounds is called for to seek further to make the increasingly international world of marketing word truly internationally.

Acknowledgment: The authors participated fully jointly in this work; the names are in alphabetical order. Dr. Holbert wishes to acknowledge with thanks the grant to him while he was at The Chinese University of HongKong that helped to underwrite the research.

Chi-fai Chan, Department of Marketing, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, N. T., Hong Kong [less than]cfchan@cuhk.edu.hk[greater than]. Neil Bruce Holbert, Department of Marketing, The American InterContinental University, 110 Marylebone High Street, London, England W1M 3DB, U.K.[less than]NHolbert@AIULONDON.ac.uk[greater than].

NOTES

(1.) In this study, we specifically sought to avoid a focus on taxonomy, and to explore issues that far overshadow classifications, important as they may be for other types of work. Thus, "home"(and such), is, broadly, the center of the business's universe, where it has its "roots". "Away" (and such) is, simply, away: those offices, branches, or whatever "over there"-whether as subsidiaries, joint ventures, or whatever. Similarly, we recognize that there are (profitably for their purposes) various names for world players, used in various ways for various didactic purposes (including by the present authors). Companies and the world-process may be variously called international, transnational, multinational, imperial, global, world, and so forth. For our purposes here, simply, if company and process transcend national borders, that is the matter at issue by whatever name.

REFERENCES

Abraham, R., & Zikiye, A. (1996). Acculturation: A review and an exploratory seven nation comparative study. Cross-Cultural Management: An International Journal, 3(1): 3-19.

Alexander, A. S., & Swinith, R. (1987). A value framework for assessing the social impacts of multinational corporations. Es says inl International Business, Centerfor International Business Studies, College of Business Administration, The University of South Carolina, No. 7.

Allen, G. (1990). Every market needs a different message. IABC Communication World, 7 (April): 16--18.

Ayal, I., & Zif, J. (1979). Market expansion strategies in multinational marketing. Journal of Marketing, 43(Spring): 84--94.

Bamberg, R. A. (1990). Global networking. Telecommunications, 24(December): 57--59.

Blackwell, R., Ajami, R., & Stephan, K. (1991). Winning the global advertising race. Journal of International Consumer Marketing, 3(2): 97--119.

Boyacigiller, N. (1990). The role of expatriates in the management of interdependence, complexity, and risk in multinational corporations. Journal of International Business Studies, 21(3): 357--381.

Buzzell, R. D. (1968). Can you standardize international marketing? Harvard Business Review, 46(November-December): 164--175.

Chan, A., & Holbert, N. (1994). Whose empire is this, anyway? Reflections on the empire state of multinational corporations. Business Horizons, 37(4): 51-54.

Choucri, N. (1991). The global environment and multinational corporations. Technology Review, 94(3): 52-59.

Contractor, F. J. (1990). Contractual and co operative forms of industrial business: Towards a unified theory of modal choice. Management International Review, 30(1):31-54.

Doz, Y. L., & Prahalad, C. K. (1981). Strategic control in MNCs. Sloan Management Re view, 22(Fall): 24-29.

Dymsza, W. A. (1984). Trends in multinational business and global environments: A perspective. Journal of International Business Studies, 15(Winter): 25-46.

Elsayed-Elkhouly, S. M. (1996). Styles of handling personal conflict in Egypt, the United States, Africa, and the Gulf States. Cross-Cultural Management: An International Journal, 3(1): 20-23.

Gates, S., & Egelhoff, W. G. (1986). Centralization in headquarters-subsidiary relationships. Journal of International Business Studies, 17(Summer): 71-92.

Hamel, G. G. (1991). Competition for competence and inter-partner learning within international strategic alliances. Strategic Management Journal, 12(Summer): 83 103.

Hite, R. E., & Fraser, C. (1990). Configuration and co-ordination of global advertising. Journal of Business Research, 21: 335 344.

Hofstede, G. (1980). Motivation, leadership, and organization: Do American theories apply abroad? Organizational Dynamics, 9(1): 42-63.

Hulbert, J. M., Brandt, W. K., & Richers, R. (1980). Marketing planning in the multi national subsidiary; Practices and problems. Journal of Marketing, 44(Summer): 7-15.

Hurn, B. J. (1996). Intercultural transfer of skills and knowledge. Cross-Cultural Management: An International Journal, 3(1): 33-36.

Killough, J. (1978). Improved payoffs from transnational advertising. Harvard Business Review, 56(July-August): 102-110.

Kim, W. C., & Mauborgne, R. (1991). Implementing global strategies: The role of procedural justice. Strategic Management Journal, 12(Summer): 125-143.

Kotabe, M., Sahey, A., & Aulakh, P. S. (1996). Emerging role of technology licensing in the development of global product strategy: Conceptual framework and research propositions. Journal of Marketing, 60(1): 73-78.

Lannon, J. (1991). Developing brand strategies across borders. Marketing and Research Today, 19(3): 160-167.

Lehrer, M., & Asakawa, K. (1999). Unbundling European operations: Regional management and corporate flexibility in American and Japanese MNCs. Journal of World Business, 34(3): 267-286.

Levitt, T. (1983). The globalization of marketing. Harvard Business Review, 61(May June): 92-102.

Morden, T. (1995). National culture and the culture of the organization. Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, 2(2): 3-12.

Nohria, N., & Ghoshal, S. (1994). Differentiated fit and shared values: Alternatives for managing headquarters-subsidiary relations. Strategic Management Journal, 15: 491-502.

Picard, J. (1977). How European companies control marketing decisions abroad. Columbia Journal of World Business, II(Summer): 113-121.

Picard, J. Boddewyn, J., & Grosse, R. (1998). Centralization and autonomy in international-marketing decision making: A longitudinal study (1973-1993) of U.S. MNEs in the European Union. Journal of Global Marketing, 12(2): 5-24.

Rao, A., & Hashimoto, K. (1996). Intercultural influence: A study of Japanese expatriate managers in Canada. Journal of International Business Studies, 27(3): 443-461.

Robinson, R. (1995). (1995). Structural interdependence and practice conformity: An empirical examination of American mines and their subsidiaries in Japan. Academy of Management Journal, Best Papers Proceedings, 192-196.

Roth, K., & Nigh, D. (1992). The effectiveness of headquarters-subsidiary relationships: The role of coordination, control, and conflict. Journal of Business Research, 25: 277-301.

Rudy, J. P. (1975). Global planning in multinational banking. Columbia Journal of World Business, 9(Winter): 16-22.

Rugman, A. M. (1980). A new theory of the multinational enterprise. Columbia Journal of World Business, 14(Spring): 23-29.

Selmer, J. (1993). Work adjustment of expatriate managers in Hong Kong. Business Research Centre, Hong Kong Baptist College: Working Paper Series, No. MS, 92113.

Selmer, J., & de Leon, C. (1993). Organizational acculturation in foreign subsidiaries and in Singapore. International Journal of Management, 10(3): 361-365.

Stephan, C. W., Helms, M. M., & Haynes, P. J. (1995). Intercultural anxiety: implications for improving expatriate selections for Japan. Cross-Cultural Management: An International Journal, 2(1): 25-32.

Wiechmann, U. E. (1974). Integrating multinational marketing activities. Columbia Journal of World Business, 8(Winter): 7-16.

Wiechmann, U. E., & Pringle, L. (1975). Problems that plague multinational marketers. Harvard Business Review, 53(July-August): 118-124.

Zajac B. (1995). Weak dollar, strong results. Forbes, 156(2): 274-276.

Perceptions of Various Issues Relating to Marketing in Subsidiaries and Home Office Where There are Significant Differences in Perceptions[*]

[Choices: (1) agree very much; (2) agree somewhat; (3) disagree somewhat; (4) disagree very much]
                                                     As the
                                   As the            Home
                                   Subsidiary        Office
                                   Sees It           Sees It
                                   Mean        SD    Mean     SD
 1. Visits from Home Office        2.28        0.76  1.70     0.54
    people to Subsidiaries are
    usually productive. (PE)
 2. Problems come up frequently    1.91        0.80  2.57     0.81
    becausc Home Office marketing
    people don't understand the
    variety of opinions that can
    exist at a Subsidiary,
    because of more widely
    differing backgrounds there
    than at the Home Office. (BC)
 3. Problems come up frequently    2.00        0.78  2.49     0.79
    because Home Office marketing
    people don't understand that
    in some subsidiaries' culture
    there may be different
    patterns of loyalty (say to
    people rather than the
    organization, or vice-versa)
    than at the Home Office. (BC)
 4. There is not enough emphasis   2.52        0.97  2.02     0.85
    at Subsidiaries on strategic
    thinking and long-term
    planning. (BO)
 5. Subsidiaries are encouraged    1.83        0.74  1.48     0.54
    to suggest innovations to the
    Home Office. (PE)
 6. The Home Office generally      2.33        0.92  2.79     0.85
    tries to change Subsidiaries'
    ways, rather than trying to
    understand and perhaps adapt
    to them. (PE)
 7. Subsidiaries have enough       1.91        0.80  1.54     0.69
    flexibility to cope
    effectively with changing
    local conditions. (BO)
 8. Knowledge is transmitted       2.27        0.97  1.88     0.74
    freely from the Home Office
    to Subsidiaries. (PE)
 9. There is a lack of carryover   2.11        0.83  1.77     0.79
    of marketing knowledge form
    one Subsidiary to another.
    (PE)
10. Home Office marketing          2.39        0.82  2.09     0.77
    management tries to
    meaningfully involve
    Subsidiaries' marketing
    people in the making of
    decisions. (PE)
                                    t-          p-
                                   value   value
 1. Visits from Home Office        -4.90  0.00 [*]
    people to Subsidiaries are
    usually productive. (PE)
 2. Problems come up frequently    4.55   0.00 [*]
    becausc Home Office marketing
    people don't understand the
    variety of opinions that can
    exist at a Subsidiary,
    because of more widely
    differing backgrounds there
    than at the Home Office. (BC)
 3. Problems come up frequently    3.41   0.00 [*]
    because Home Office marketing
    people don't understand that
    in some subsidiaries' culture
    there may be different
    patterns of loyalty (say to
    people rather than the
    organization, or vice-versa)
    than at the Home Office. (BC)
 4. There is not enough emphasis   -3.01  0.00 [*]
    at Subsidiaries on strategic
    thinking and long-term
    planning. (BO)
 5. Subsidiaries are encouraged    -2.96  0.00 [*]
    to suggest innovations to the
    Home Office. (PE)
 6. The Home Office generally      2.81   0.01 [*]
    tries to change Subsidiaries'
    ways, rather than trying to
    understand and perhaps adapt
    to them. (PE)
 7. Subsidiaries have enough       -2.74  0.01 [*]
    flexibility to cope
    effectively with changing
    local conditions. (BO)
 8. Knowledge is transmitted       -2.57  0.01 [*]
    freely from the Home Office
    to Subsidiaries. (PE)
 9. There is a lack of carryover   -2.30  0.02 [*]
    of marketing knowledge form
    one Subsidiary to another.
    (PE)
10. Home Office marketing          -2.10  0.04 [*]
    management tries to
    meaningfully involve
    Subsidiaries' marketing
    people in the making of
    decisions. (PE)
(*.)p [less than or equal to] .05, two-tailed.


Perceptions of Various Issues Relating to Marketing in Subsidiaries and Home Office Where There are no Significant Differences in Perceptions[*]

[Choices: (1) agree very much; (2) agree somewhat; (3) disagree somewhat; (4) disagree very much]
                                                    As the
                                  As the             Home
                                Subsidiary        Office See
                                 Sees It     It       It
                                    Mean     SD      Mean      SD
1.  Visits from Subsidiaries'       1.88    0.69     1.66     0.58
    people to the Home Office
    are usually productive.
2.  There is a lack of              3.09    0.82     2.83     0.84
    marketing competence at
    the subsidiary level.
3.  Subsidiaries tend to            2.74    0.85     2.52     0.69
    resist suggestions or
    offers of assistance by
    the Home Office.
4.  There is a substantial          2.27    0.71     2.11     0.68
    level of uncertainty at
    Subsidiaries as to what
    marketing at the Home
    Office is doing.
5.  Subsidiaries report             1.97    0.80     2.13     0.81
    changes
    in local conditions
    immediately to the Home
    Office.
6.  There is too much emphasis      2.09    0.96     2.27     0.96
    in the Home Office on
    short-term results.
7.  There is a lack of              2.38    0.82     2.48     0.91
    carryover of marketing
    knowledge from the Home
    Office to Subsidiaries.
8.  There is a substantial         2.33     0.83     2.43     0.99
    level of uncertainty at
    the Home Office as to
    what marketing a
    Subsidiaries is doing.
9.  Career paths back at the       2.81     0.80     2.88     0.73
    Home Office are made clear
    to marketing people going
    out to work at
    Subsidiaries.
10. There is difficulty in         2.53     0.88     2.60     0.77
    getting good Subsidiary
    people to go to work in
    marketing at the Home
    Office.
11. There is too much emphasis     2.34     0.76     2.29     0.76
    in Subsidiaries on short-
    term results.
12. Knowledge is transmitted       2.03     0.76     2.07     0.68
    freely from Subsidiaries
    to the Home Office.
13. There is a lack of             2.38     0.82     2.43     0.95
    marketing co-ordination
    between the Home Office
    and Subsidiaries.
14. There is difficult getting     2.61     0.95     2.58     0.92
    good Home Office people
    to go to work in
    marketing at Subsidiaries.
15. There is a lack of             2.41     0.78     2.39     0.99
    carryover of marketing
    knowledge from
    Subsidiaries to the
    Home Office.
                                 t-     p-
                                value  value
1.  Visits from Subsidiaries'   -1.87   NS
    people to the Home Office
    are usually productive.
2.  There is a lack of          -1.69   NS
    marketing competence at
    the subsidiary level.
3.  Subsidiaries tend to        -1.59   NS
    resist suggestions or
    offers of assistance by
    the Home Office.
4.  There is a substantial      -1.31   NS
    level of uncertainty at
    Subsidiaries as to what
    marketing at the Home
    Office is doing.
5.  Subsidiaries report          1.06   NS
    changes
    in local conditions
    immediately to the Home
    Office.
6.  There is too much emphasis   1.00   NS
    in the Home Office on
    short-term results.
7.  There is a lack of           0.66   NS
    carryover of marketing
    knowledge from the Home
    Office to Subsidiaries.
8.  There is a substantial       0.58   NS
    level of uncertainty at
    the Home Office as to
    what marketing a
    Subsidiaries is doing.
9.  Career paths back at the     0.52   NS
    Home Office are made clear
    to marketing people going
    out to work at
    Subsidiaries.
10. There is difficulty in       0.41   NS
    getting good Subsidiary
    people to go to work in
    marketing at the Home
    Office.
11. There is too much emphasis  -0.34   NS
    in Subsidiaries on short-
    term results.
12. Knowledge is transmitted     0.31   NS
    freely from Subsidiaries
    to the Home Office.
13. There is a lack of           0.31   NS
    marketing co-ordination
    between the Home Office
    and Subsidiaries.
14. There is difficult getting  -0.19   NS
    good Home Office people
    to go to work in
    marketing at Subsidiaries.
15. There is a lack of          -0.10   NS
    carryover of marketing
    knowledge from
    Subsidiaries to the
    Home Office.
(*.)p[less than or equal to].05, two-tailed.


2) a high degree of tually no autonomy]
                                                    As the
                                 As the              Home
                               Subsidiary        Office Sees
                                Sees It               It
                                  Mean      SD       Mean      SD
1. Marketing "Tactics"            2.02     1.02      1.91     0.64
2. The Subsidiary's Marketing
   Plan                           2.15     0.97      2.21     0.80
3. Marketing "Strategy"           2.58     1.04      2.70     0.89
4. Marketing "Mission"            2.83     1.11      3.00     1.01
5. Co-ordination with
   Worldwide Marketing
   Activities                     2.94     1.19      2.98     0.94
                                t-     p-
                               value  value
1. Marketing "Tactics"         -0.69   NS
2. The Subsidiary's Marketing
   Plan                        0.37    NS
3. Marketing "Strategy"        0.67    NS
4. Marketing "Mission"         0.87    NS
5. Co-ordination with
   Worldwide Marketing
   Activities                  0.23    NS
(*.)p [less than or equal to] .05, two-tailed.


Satisfaction with Perceived Levels of Subsidiaries' Autonomy as Shown in Table 3[How well does this work?: (1) pretty well; (2) fairly well; (3) not at all well]
                                                         AS the
                                      As the              Home
                                    Subsidiary        Office Sees
                                      Sees It             It
                                       Mean      SD      Mean       SD
1. Marketing "Tactics"                 1.46     0.62     1.50      0.60
2. The Subsidiary's Marketing Plan     1.59     0.66     1.69      0.64
3. Marketing "Mission"                 1.72     0.68     1.61      0.59
4. Marketing "Strategy"                1.75     0.76     1.63      0.65
5. Co-ordination with Worldwide        2.03     0.76     1.96      0.72
   Marketing Activities
                                     t-     p-
                                    value  value
1. Marketing "Tactics"              0.35    NS
2. The Subsidiary's Marketing Plan  0.86    NS
3. Marketing "Mission"              -0.95   NS
4. Marketing "Strategy"             -0.93   NS
5. Co-ordination with Worldwide     -0.50   NS
   Marketing Activities
(*.)p [less than or equal to] .05, two-tailed.


Perceived Levels of Subsidiaries' Autonomy: Specific Marketing Activities [Subsidiary has: (1) complete or virtually complete autonomy; (2) a high degree of autonomy; (3) some autonomy; (4) little autonomy; (5) no or virtually no autonomy]
                                                     As the
                                  As the              Home
                                Subsidiary        Office Sees
                                 Sees It               It
                                   Mean      SD       Mean      SD
1. "Promotion" (sales
    promotion, public
    relations, etc.)               1.95     0.86      2.22     1.00
2.  Forecasting                    2.13     1.02      2.20     0.10
3.  Distribution                   2.19     1.04      2.61     1.15
4.  Marketing research             2.21     1.10      2.35     0.89
5.  Advertising: Finalizing
    the "Execution"                2.32     1.23      2.57     1.27
6.  Advertising: Selecting the
    "Theme"                        2.62     1.28      2.89     1.12
7.  Pricing                        2.62     1.18      2.76     1.16
8.  Advertising: Choosing the
    Advertising Agency             2.66     1.51      2.89     1.42
9.  New product development        3.55     1.35      3.55     0.97
10. The product itself             3.60     1.30      3.65     1.12
11. The package                    3.63     1.26      3.56     1.20
12. The name                       4.10     1.24      4.31     0.92
13. The logo                       4.24     1.21      4.60     0.66
                                 t-     p-
                                value  value
1. "Promotion" (sales
    promotion, public
    relations, etc.)            1.57     NS
2.  Forecasting                 0.40     NS
3.  Distribution                2.02   0.05 [*]
4.  Marketing research          0.74     NS
5.  Advertising: Finalizing
    the "Execution"             1.10     NS
6.  Advertising: Selecting the
    "Theme"                     1.16     NS
7.  Pricing                     0.64     NS
8.  Advertising: Choosing the
    Advertising Agency          0.83     NS
9.  New product development     0.00     NS
10. The product itself          0.22     NS
11. The package                 -0.29    NS
12. The name                    1.05     NS
13. The logo                    1.98   0.05 [*]
(*.)p [less than or equal to] .05, two-tailed.


Satisfaction with Perceived Levels of Subsidiaries' Autonomy as Shown in Table 5

[How well does this work?: (1) pretty well; (2) fairly well; (3) not at all well]
                                                       As the
                                     As the             Home
                                   Subsidiary        Office See
                                    Sees It              It
                                      Mean      SD      Mean      SD
 1. "Promotion" (sales promotion,     1.50     0.70     1.46     0.58
     public relations, etc.)
 2. Distribution                      1.58     0.66     1.38     0.53
 3. The logo                          1.60     0.62     1.35     0.52
 4. The name                          1.63     0.65     1.38     0.53
 5. Advertising: Finalizing the       1.70     0.71     1.58     0.61
    "Execution"
 6. Pricing                           1.71     0.68     1.47     0.54
 7. Advertising: Selecting the        1.73     0.69     1.70     0.58
    "Theme"
 8. The package                       1.75     0.68     1.60     0.62
 9. Marketing research                1.75     0.67     1.62     0.63
10. Forecasting                       1.79     0.68     1.58     0.61
11. The product itself                1.81     0.74     1.59     0.61
12. Advertising: Choosing the         1.83     0.72     1.51     0.61
    Advertising Agency
13. New product development           2.00     0.71     1.73     0.73
                                    t-       p-
                                   value   value
 1. "Promotion" (sales promotion,  -0.31     NS
     public relations, etc.)
 2. Distribution                   -1.68     NS
 3. The logo                       -2.24   0.03 [*]
 4. The name                       -2.19   0.03 [*]
 5. Advertising: Finalizing the    -0.99     NS
    "Execution"
 6. Pricing                        -2.00   0.05 [*]
 7. Advertising: Selecting the     -0.25     NS
    "Theme"
 8. The package                    -1.17     NS
 9. Marketing research             -1.08     NS
10. Forecasting                    -1.68     NS
11. The product itself             -1.65     NS
12. Advertising: Choosing the      -2.47   0.02 [*]
    Advertising Agency
13. New product development        -1.90     NS
p [less than or equal to] .05, two-tailed.
Perceived Cultural, Economic, Legal, Political, and Social Problems
              Among      Among Home
           Subsidiaries    Office    Overall
Cultural       38%          41%        39%
Economic       31%          37%        33%
Legal          19%          18%        19%
Political       6%           4%        5%
Social          7%           0%        4%
Cultural Problems in Marketing Efforts in Subsidiaries' Countries
(from Subsidiary respondents,
total number of respondents = 27)
                                     Frequency
* Different in perception,              16
  understanding, language: cause
  miscommunication and affect the
  degree of acceptance of
  marketing programs
* Lack of knowledge and                  1
  comprehension of local practices
  and structures
* Price constraint                       1
* Lack of local language manuals:        1
  need to translate
* Mostly U.S. based offices with         1
  a provincial view of Asian
  affairs, cultural sensitivities
  and local concerns
(from Home Office respondents,
total number of respondents = 21)
* Different in perception,              13
  understanding, language: cause
  miscommunication and affect the
  degree of acceptance of
  marketing programs
* Different philosophy: don't            1
  know what they really feel
* Home and subsidiaries' offices:        1
  different in the target
  marketing ideas
* Lack of knowledge and                  1
  comprehension of local practices
  and strictures
* Restrictions in the beliefs            1
  about how marketing can be used
  to be effective and a
  willingness to try "new"
  marketing techniques in varieties
  countries
* Home office: lack of                   1
  understanding of customers needs,
  poor product fit and low
  performance
COPYRIGHT 2001 JAI Press, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Chi-fai Chan; Neil Bruce Holbert
Publication:Journal of World Business
Date:Jun 22, 2001
Words:8036
Previous Article:Technological Capabilities and International Production Strategy of Firms: The Case of Foreign Direct Investment in China.
Next Article:Beliefs about Work in the Middle East and the Convergence Versus Divergence of Values.
Topics:

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters