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The costs of governance in international companies

Sverre Tomassen and Gabriel Benito ()

International Business Review, 2009, vol. 18, issue 3, 292-304

Abstract: Using foreign direct investment as a governance mechanism has a cost side that goes beyond mere production and input costs. The governance costs of foreign operations are often vague and underestimated, and sometimes even ignored by companies entering a foreign market. The effects of these costs have also largely been neglected in former empirical research. This study examines the governance cost effects on foreign subsidiary performance. Using data from a survey of 160 Norwegian multinational companies the study shows that there are significant and negative relationships between bargaining, monitoring, and maladaptation costs and subsidiary performance. Conversely, costs incurred due to bonding activities are positively associated with performance. Overall, this study indicates that governance costs play a significant role in explaining the performance of foreign subsidiaries: close to 40% of the variation in performance can be attributed to such costs. Dealing with such costs is hence of utmost importance for the management of multinational companies.

Keywords: Foreign; subsidiaries; Governance; costs; Multinational; companies; Performance (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009
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