Upgrading of tnc subsidiaries: The case of the Polish automotive industry

Type de publication:

Journal Article


Winter, J.


International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management, Volume 10, Number 2-3, p.145-160 (2010)




The automotive industry is Europe's leading industrial sector and transmitter of innovations and cyclical trends. Due to the structural downturn in the last decades, car manufacturers have begun to focus on their core competencies. Initially, only assembly and low-tech production were decentralised to emerging markets. Today, internationalisation also affects knowledge-intensive capacities. Faced with this volatile economic environment, we should thus view the intra-corporate allocation of competencies not as a top-down hierarchy with very separate responsibilities and roles, but as a heterarchy with scope for subsidiary upgrading. By means of foreign direct investments, intra-corporate knowledge transfer and selfacquisition of corporate competencies, foreign subsidiaries can build up technological and organisational competencies. Drawing upon a theoretical gap in existing economic geography and international business literature, a conceptual framework for the subdivision of corporate competencies is developed in this study and applied in the empirical context of the Polish automotive industry. Copyright © 2010 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.