Strategizing in a multinational corporation requires a well-informed and open strategist, and a balance between global and local strategy. The purpose of this paper is to provide some insights into how multinational corporations can succeed in this endeavour.I conducted a detailed qualitative investigation of the strategy development processes in several multinational organizations in the DACH region (i.e., German, Austrian and Swiss subsidiaries). To collect data, I used my access to these organizations and conducted interviews with key informants responsible for strategy and the design of the strategy process. I further collected archival data on the both the subsidiary and headquarter levels. Publicly available information such as press releases, annual reports, etc., were used to countercheck and complete the gathered data. I have developed findings on two levels:
• Four mechanisms challenge the existing process of strategizing: cognitive challenge, focus on process, mindset and mindset change, cognition, and capabilities. Using these mechanisms allows chief executives to experience new possibilities and to see their environment through a new lens. This change of perspective allows top managers to read the organisation and the environment of their business more quickly than their counterparts at other companies. It thus confers a competitive advantage.
• I found an approach to strategy development that balanced global strategy with local conditions, providing a suitable way to align global and local strategies. Three key insights were gained, revolving around subsidiaries’ unique interpretations of the basic thrust of global strategy, idiosyncratic strategy development processes in subsidiaries, as well as globally and locally synchronized temporal structures.Knowing how to question what is taken for granted and how to balance the strategic needs of both the company headquarters and its subsidiaries allows chief executives to build to strategically and react to global and individual market requirements.
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