The distinctiveness of employment relations within multinationals: political games and social compromises within multinationals’ subsidiaries in Germany and Belgium

Valeria Pulignano, Olga Tregaskis, Nadja Doerflinger, Jacques Bélanger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-491
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Industrial Relations
Issue number4
Early online date1 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018


  • Multinationals
  • political games
  • employment relations

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