An investigation of wholly-owned foreign subsidiary control through transaction cost economics theory

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Accounting and Finance, 2016, 56 (4), pp. 1041 - 1070 (30)
Issue Date:
2016
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This paper investigates the management control systems used by multinational corporation headquarters to control wholly-owned foreign subsidiaries. Our theory development is based on transaction cost economics. First, we conduct a series of exploratory interviews, providing an insight into the context, and second, we provide empirical evidence based on cross-sectional survey data. Our results indicate that activity traits (uncertainty, asset specificity and post hoc information impactedness) have significant implications on control choices, in particular the control archetype combinations chosen by headquarters, although not all results are consistent with theory predictions. Our findings are supported by extensive alternative testing.
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