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Key factors in global supply headquarters‐subsidiary control systems

Julio Sánchez Loppacher (IAE Management and Business School, Universidad Austral, Pilar, Argentina)
Raffaella Cagliano (Dipartimento di Ingegneria Gestionale, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy)
Gianluca Spina (Dipartimento di Ingegneria Gestionale, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy)

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

ISSN: 1741-038X

Article publication date: 12 September 2010




According to the reviewed literature, in order to build effective and efficient global supply (GS) strategies, multinational companies (MNCs) need to define and implement adequate headquarters' control and follow‐up systems for GS management performance in order to guarantee world supply consistence and alignment. The purpose of this paper is to shed some light on how key variables affect GS headquarters‐subsidiary control systems and their complementary behaviours across culturally similar business units.


Multiple case study methodology, with a sample including seven Italian MNCs, has expanded their operations to the Mercosur area (Latin America's Southern Common Market) and designed to guarantee theoretical replication in the analysis of the empirical evidence.


It was found that, although cultural similarities strongly influence MNCs' GS headquarters‐subsidiary control systems, other factors, such as purchasing and globalization sourcing strategy centralization and globalization process evolution, lead companies to implement complementary formal control systems that are consistent with the sharply personalized profile set by cultural proximity.

Research limitations/implications

In order to expand and deepen these conclusions, further research will be necessary to validate these findings in a wider sample, including companies from various countries of origin and destination. In any case, a longitudinal study could help to shed some light on the evolution of headquarters‐subsidiary relationships within global sourcing strategies.


The paper enables better understanding of the impact of and interactions between key driving factors in GS headquarters‐subsidiary control systems in cases of strong cultural similarities through a multi‐case sample study.



Sánchez Loppacher, J., Cagliano, R. and Spina, G. (2010), "Key factors in global supply headquarters‐subsidiary control systems", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 21 No. 7, pp. 794-817.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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