Boosting sustainability from beyond: micro-politics and the role of regional headquarters

Andreas Nachbagauer

Publication: Chapter in book/Conference proceedingContribution to conference proceedings


“Isolated hierarchy” companies, often to be found in the Asia-Pacific region, tend to exert direct, personal and strong control over all company units. These companies have different traditions of ethics, respect for society and the environment than European ones. Sustainability as a strategic concept usually is initiated by corporate headquarters – but given the restrictions of isolated hierarchies in emerging markets, one would not expect that to happen with southern multinationals. Recently regional headquarters (RHQ) have gained Attention, they can to a certain extent shape the strategic focus of the company. The objective of this conceptual paper is to examine if there are possibilities to boost sustainability “from beyond”, initiated by RHQs. We interpret managing as power games and will examine three levels to promote sustainability despite lacking corporate headquarter (CHQ) support. First, we interpret strategizing as an innovation game. At this level, the odds of influencing the CHQ are low. RHQs will step in increasingly prominently when implementing strategies – we will coin this project games. The focus shifts from managerial strategies to micro-political tactics, RHQs draw their power particularly through broker power. A third way to boost sustainability is by declaring them mere adaptation to local needs. This is in line with observations that sustainability could ultimately be implemented as “pure operation” below the CHQ’s threshold of strategic perception. On a more theoretical level, these considerations provoke ethical issues.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStrategica 2016. Opportunities and risks in the contemporary business environment
Editors Faculty of Management (SNSPA)
Place of PublicationBucharest
PublisherFaculty of Management (SNSPA)
Pages801 - 814
ISBN (Print)978-606-749-181-4
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 502052 Business administration
  • 506009 Organisation theory

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