This paper investigates parent-subsidiary technical communication in multinational corporations (MNC's). Subsidiaries of European and Japanese MNC's operating biotechnology R&D facilities in the United States are examined to determine how technical information is transmitted to and from their parent firms. A conceptual model is developed that relates parent company and subsidiary attributes to technical communication between the parent and the US subsidiary. A multimethod approach using both survey and case study methodologies is employed to evaluate this model. The data indicate that European- and Japanese-owned subsidiaries exhibit differences in a number of organizational, cultural, and technology-related attributes, which in turn appear to lead to differences in scientific and technical communication between the subsidiaries and their parents. The concept of communication structure from the organizational communication literature is used to provide a framework for the discussion of the results. In this study, European and Japanese firms exhibit two distinct forms of communication structure characterizing parent-subsidiary technical communication.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Strategy and Management
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering