Headquarter Services in the Global Integration of Production (PDF)

This study examines knowledge management within multinational enterprises (MNEs) by analyzing whether greater interdependence of production between U.S. parent firms and their foreign subsidiaries increases the provision of headquarter (HQ) services from the home country. The findings suggest that U.S. parents provide more assistance to their foreign subsidiaries that are linked in a global value chain than to those that are not involved in production sharing. This study builds on the earlier studies of the relationship between intra-MNE product flows and knowledge flows in multiple ways. First, it separately examines the relationship for high-tech and low-tech manufacturing industries, and finds that knowledge services from HQ that could be combined with knowledge of the subsidiary, such as R&D services, are primarily associated with production sharing with subsidiaries in high-tech manufacturing industries, which are assumed to be more technologically capable. Likewise, it finds that knowledge services from HQ that might be considered to be more passively received from the parent, such as industrial-type maintenance and design, are primarily associated with subsidiaries in low-tech manufacturing industries, which are assumed to be less technologically capable. Second, this study is the first one, to our knowledge, that gauges intra-firm knowledge flows using dollar-denominated measures of HQ services provided by parents to their subsidiaries.

Marilyn Ibarra-Caton and Raymond J. Mataloni, Jr.