The purpose of this study is to address the strategic and managerial challenges facing UK subsidiary companies, and in particular to understand how they generate the necessary levels of attention to achieve their objectives. Subsidiary company here refers to any foreign-owned entity, such as a manufacturing plant, a sales subsidiary, or a fully integrated operation with its own R&D, manufacturing and sales. We asked the managers running UK subsidiaries a number of questions to understand:
• What is the typical range of activities of a UK subsidiary?
• How does the UK subsidiary manage its relationship with its parent company? How does it get the necessary level of attention to achieve its objectives, without entirely sacrificing its autonomy?
• What are the approaches the UK subsidiary uses to innovate, improve its productivity, and add new value within its corporate structure?
In addition to analysing the situation in the UK, we also provide some benchmark comparisons with subsidiaries in Canada and Australia. Rather than compare the UK with France and Germany we decided to look further afield to get a sense of the different levels of economic integration that have occurred in different world regions. Like the UK, Canada and Australia lie on the periphery of their major trading blocks, and they have obvious similarities in their level of prosperity, language and culture. And as will become clear, they offer some important and interesting contrasts with the situation in the UK.
Advanced Institute of Management Research