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Three essays on how firms' strategies affect the performance of subsidiary businesses

Abstract : This dissertation deals with how multi-business firms’ strategies affect the performance of subsidiary businesses and contributes to long standing debates in corporate strategy. Overall, each of my 3 dissertation essays are designed to, correspondingly, analyze the debated magnitude, efficiency, and mechanism of the effect of a multi-business firms’ strategies on the performance of its subsidiaries. In the first chapter, I address a root question in corporate level strategy; I question traditional methods to estimate corporate effects (the effect of corporate headquarters on subsidiary businesses’ performance). I argue that previous corporate effect studies fail to account for the uneven impact of corporate decisions on subsidiaries. A headquarters makes conscious and deliberate decisions that might induce performance heterogeneity among its subsidiaries. Consequently, considering all subsidiaries as a bundle will systematically underestimate the corporate effects. Rather, I argue that it is important to account for the firm’s induced variance on the subsidiaries’ performance. We connote this induced variance as “business-variant corporate effects”, and show that they are just as important in magnitude as the value of the standard corporate effects, namely “business-invariant corporate effects”, found in previous studies. In the second essay, I focus on corporate capital allocation as a critical dimension of corporate strategies that might contribute to, within-firm, subsidiaries’ performance heterogeneity. We particularly delve deeper into the internal capital market efficiency debate by extending current theories that aim to justify why headquarters provide more resources to subsidiaries with seemingly lower growth opportunities. Considering both the level of uncertainty a firm faces when making capital allocation decisions, and the level of interdependence among its subsidiaries, we disentangle between inefficient and not-necessarily-inefficient deviations from standard models’ prescription. We explain that higher investments in subsidiaries with seemingly lower growth opportunities may simply reflect different strategic intents rather than allocation inefficiencies. Furthermore, we highlight the role of the breadth of CEOs’ prior experience in subsidiaries’ domain, as a source of firms’ capital allocation competency, in attenuating inefficient deviations and enhancing corporate value through better capital allocation practices. In the third essay, I incorporate financial resources, as a perfectly fungible and divisible resource, within the scope of the resource redeployment theory. Indivisibility and imperfect fungibility of resources play a critical role in the theory and this is why the standard theory has excluded the financial resources from its boundaries. I, however, argue that when allocating financial resources, such as capital, to one of its subsidiaries to acquire non-financial assets such as plants or technology, a corporate headquarters also purchases the option to redeploy those same resources in subsequent periods. Therefore, the direction of current capital flow among subsidiary businesses will not merely be a function of their current relative market growth opportunities. Rather, it is a function of the adjustment costs of potential resource redeployments among the subsidiaries in subsequent periods. My extension of the resource redeployment theory to include intrafirm capital allocations paves the way for further empirical investigations of the theory; that have been scarce so far, due to the challenge of observing and measuring the redeployment of non-financial resources. In turn, studying intrafirm capital allocations through the lens of RR theory helps us further develop and offer novel predictions for the theory.
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Submitted on : Sunday, December 1, 2019 - 1:04:03 AM
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Ghahhar Zavosh. Three essays on how firms' strategies affect the performance of subsidiary businesses. Economics and Finance. Université Côte d'Azur, 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019AZUR0002⟩. ⟨tel-02388087⟩



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