This work makes a theoretical contribution to our understanding of the strategic mechanisms that enable subsidiary management and union agency to exploit ambiguities in the subnational competitive context impacting labour flexibility-security concerns. In so doing, the article contributes to the distinctiveness of employment relations through scrutiny of the internal regime competition that fosters political games in MNCs. Studying the dynamics, we identify the set of structuring conditions governing political games, and explain why some workplace regimes generate social compromises whilst others do not. We reveal a set of strategic conditions (i.e. technology, embeddedness and MNC control) upon which compromise is built in six German and Belgian subsidiaries of four MNCs. Our analysis suggests that subsidiary control modes through expatriates and local embeddedness act as key mechanisms through which the effects of wider strategic drivers influence the form of social compromise.
- political games
- employment relations