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Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 290–312 | Cite as

Ensuring international competitiveness: a configurative approach to foreign marketing subsidiaries

  • Christian HomburgEmail author
  • Andreas Fürst
  • Christina Kuehnl
Article

Abstract

Increasingly, multinational companies (MNCs) operate their global marketing activities through foreign marketing subsidiaries. However, this practice presents MNCs with the challenge of efficiently and effectively managing a portfolio of subsidiaries with numerous diverging characteristics. To reduce the complexity of managing such a portfolio and to increase MNCs’ and subsidiaries’ performance, we provide MNCs with a marketing subsidiary taxonomy that enables them to understand and manage different subsidiary types. Analysis of a cross-sectional, multi-country, multiple-informant dataset generated five marketing subsidiary clusters, which are distinct in the structural characteristics of size, age, and value-added scope and the strategic characteristics of strategic influence, strategic competence, and strategic importance. Subsidiary performance outcomes, subsidiary environmental conditions including important marketing aspects (e.g., customer characteristics), and headquarters’ coordination and communication mechanisms enrich our cluster description and yield a holistic picture of our marketing subsidiary taxonomy. The empirical results provide significant theoretical and managerial implications.

Keywords

Foreign marketing subsidiary Configurative approach Taxonomy 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors thank Petra Schenkel and Frank Becker for their assistance in the data collection and analysis phase of this study. All authors contributed equally to this manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Academy of Marketing Science 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Homburg
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Andreas Fürst
    • 3
  • Christina Kuehnl
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MarketingUniversity of MannheimMannheimGermany
  2. 2.Department of Management and MarketingUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia
  3. 3.Department of MarketingUniversity of Erlangen-NürnbergNürnbergGermany

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