PurposeThe existing literature suggests that multinational corporations (MNCs) divest subsidiary units whenever they cease to enjoy the advantages of ownership, location or internalization. However, not all MNCs divest under these conditions. This paper aims to explore the factors that contributed to the survival of a particular subsidiary and prevented it from being divested.Design/methodology/approachThe analysis focuses on an individual subsidiary of a large foreign MNC in the electronics industry, which divested other subsidiaries from Portugal. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews.FindingsThe subsidiary’s diverse customer base, specificity and high level of efficiency, the local advantages, the existing governmental agreements and the parent MNC’s previous unsuccessful relocation experiences seem to have contributed to the survival of the subsidiary.Research limitations/implicationsAlthough the results of the case study are not generalizable to the entire population of firms, the featured case study is a rare survival success story in the Portuguese electronics industry.Practical implicationsThe proposed framework may offer public authorities measures to create conditions to encourage firms to retain their investment in a particular site. For corporate strategists, new perspectives on subsidiary survival are provided.Originality/valueThis paper is one of the few qualitative studies in the field of subsidiary survival. The results offer an integrative framework on which factors contribute to the survival of a subsidiary located on a comparatively unfavorable labor cost location and support the role of the organizational learning and of previous failed relocation experiences and relocation barriers when a parent MNC decides whether to retain a unit.
Review of International Business and Strategy – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 2, 2019
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