Low-intensity conflict in multinational corporations

Jakob Lauring*, Poul Houman Andersen, Marianne Storgaard, Hanne Kragh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Purpose: This paper aims to identify antecedents for, and consequences of, low-intensity inter-unit conflict in multinational corporations (MNCs). Inter-unit conflict in MNCs is an important and well-researched theme. However, while most studies have focused on open conflict acknowledged by both parties, much less research has dealt with low-intensity conflicts. Still, low-intensity conflicts can be highly damaging – not least because they are rarely resolved. Design/methodology/approach: The authors used a qualitative approach to understanding low-intensity conflict relying on 170 interviews in four Danish MNCs. Findings: They describe consequences of low-intensity conflict and identify three types of actions by headquarters’ representatives that could lead to the development of low-intensity conflicts, namely, ignoring, bypassing and educating. Originality/value: Very few studies have dealt with low-intensity conflict – not least in international business research. The authors argue that the study of low-intensity conflict in MNCs can provide relevant, novel knowledge of MNC functioning.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMultinational Business Review
Volume25
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)11-27
ISSN1525-383X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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Multinational corporations
Design methodology
Qualitative approaches
International business research
Headquarters
Functioning

Keywords

  • Conflict
  • HQ-subsidiary relations

Cite this

Lauring, Jakob ; Andersen, Poul Houman ; Storgaard, Marianne ; Kragh, Hanne. / Low-intensity conflict in multinational corporations. In: Multinational Business Review. 2017 ; Vol. 25, No. 1. pp. 11-27.
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Low-intensity conflict in multinational corporations. / Lauring, Jakob; Andersen, Poul Houman; Storgaard, Marianne; Kragh, Hanne.

In: Multinational Business Review, Vol. 25, No. 1, 2017, p. 11-27.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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AU - Lauring, Jakob

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AB - Purpose: This paper aims to identify antecedents for, and consequences of, low-intensity inter-unit conflict in multinational corporations (MNCs). Inter-unit conflict in MNCs is an important and well-researched theme. However, while most studies have focused on open conflict acknowledged by both parties, much less research has dealt with low-intensity conflicts. Still, low-intensity conflicts can be highly damaging – not least because they are rarely resolved. Design/methodology/approach: The authors used a qualitative approach to understanding low-intensity conflict relying on 170 interviews in four Danish MNCs. Findings: They describe consequences of low-intensity conflict and identify three types of actions by headquarters’ representatives that could lead to the development of low-intensity conflicts, namely, ignoring, bypassing and educating. Originality/value: Very few studies have dealt with low-intensity conflict – not least in international business research. The authors argue that the study of low-intensity conflict in MNCs can provide relevant, novel knowledge of MNC functioning.

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