Subsidiary importance in the MNC: What role does internal embeddedness play?
This paper addresses the issue of how a subsidiary's internal and external embeddedness interact in generating the importance of the subsidiary vis-a-vis the MNC as a whole. We take previous findings of the positive impact of external embeddedness on a subsidiary's importance as our starting point and consider two questions: (a) how does the internal embeddedness of a subsidiary affect its organisational importance, and (b) how do a subsidiary's internal and external embeddedness interact in generating organisational importance? We test hypotheses reflecting these questions on data from 97 foreign subsidiaries belonging to Swedish multinationals. We find that internal embeddedness is negatively related to a subsidiary's importance to product development but unrelated to its importance to production development. We also find that internal embeddedness dilutes the positive impact of external embeddedness on a subsidiary's importance to production development. We discuss the findings in the light of the extant literature and consider implications for future research and MNC managers.