To read this content please select one of the options below:

Interfere! How Chinese subsidiaries manage their global headquarters

Annette Metz (Conben Deutschland GMBH Representative Office Shanghai, Shanghai, China)
Christiane Prange (Department of Economics and Management, Tongji University, Shanghai, China)

Journal of Business Strategy

ISSN: 0275-6668

Article publication date: 18 May 2020

Issue publication date: 26 May 2021




With the increasing dependence on the Chinese market, Chinese subsidiary managers rather than Western managers in the headquarters take responsibility for the overall success of the multinational company (MNC). This paper aims to argue that Chinese managers need to actively interfere to guarantee the survival of the MNC. Transaction analysis is suggested as a tool to rebalance the relationship.


Based on illustrative material and experience cases, the authors highlight why and how Chinese subsidiary managers have to engage in interference management.


Introducing different strategies within transaction analysis shows how Western managers can deal with Chinese interference management to improve relationships.

Practical implications

With the use of transaction analysis, Western managers can verify their communication strategies and behavior to better relate to Chinese subsidiaries on an “adult” level.


Interference management is based on counterintuitive thought that Chinese subsidiary managers rather than headquarters become responsible for the overall success of the MNC. Transaction analysis is used to uncover hidden assumptions, communication strategies and behavior in headquarters–subsidiary relationships.



Metz, A. and Prange, C. (2021), "Interfere! How Chinese subsidiaries manage their global headquarters", Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 42 No. 3, pp. 151-158.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles