Employee Profile

Ulf Andersson

Adjunct Professor - Department of Strategy and Entrepreneurship


I am Professor of Business Studies at Mälardalen University, Sweden and Professor II at BI Norwegian Business School, Department of Strategy and Entrepreneurship. I have my doctorate from Uppsala University where I also was a Professor of International Business until 2008.

Before joining BI I was a Professor of Strategy and International Management at Copenhagen Business School. I am Senior Editor of Journal of World Business and Fellow of the Academy of International Business and of the European International Business Academy.

My research focuses on subsidiary development, knowledge governance and transfer, network theory, strategy and management of the MNE. Particularly I have utilized the Subsidiary External Embeddedness concept to understand subsidiary and MNE evolution and performance. Papers on these subjects and areas have been published by me and co-authors in, among others, Strategic Management Journal, Journal of International Business Studies, Organization Studies, Journal of World Business, Global Strategy Journal, International Business Review.


O'Riordan, Niall; Ryan, Paul & Andersson, Ulf (2023)

The subsidiary strategising process for a competence-creating role

Multinational Business Review Doi: 10.1108/MBR-05-2023-0076

Andersson, Ulf; Benito, Gabriel R G, Lunnan, Randi & Tomassen, Sverre (2023)

Why Some are Less Willing to Share:Competitive Domains and Knowledge Transfer in Multi-Unit Organizations

Social Science Research Network (SSRN) Doi: 10.2139/ssrn.4620947

Dzikowska, Marlena; Gammelgaard, Jens & Andersson, Ulf (2023)

Subsidiary capability and charter change: Making Birkinshaw and Hood's framework actionable

Global Strategy Journal Doi: 10.1002/gsj.1476

We provide a more granular and comprehensive approach to subsidiary evolution and enhance the understanding of the complexity of the subsidiary's evolution in the era of value chain fine-slicing. We extend Birkinshaw and Hood's model of general processes of subsidiary evolution into a model of functional evolutionary paths that represents nine configurations of charter and capability changes. We examine initiative, autonomy, and track record as determinants of 1455 functional evolutionary paths identified in 266 subsidiaries operating in the Polish and Swiss manufacturing sectors. Through a two-level multinomial logistic regression model, we learn that subsidiary initiative and track record are positively related to an increase in subsidiaries' charter and capability enhancement, respectively. Subsidiary autonomy though, is negatively related to charter increase and capability enhancement.

Gillmore, Edward; Andersson, Ulf & Dellestrand, Henrik (2022)

Between a rock and a hard place: The consequences of complex headquarters configurations for subsidiary R&D activities

Global Strategy Journal Doi: 10.1002/gsj.1431 - Full text in research archive

Challenges related to the complexity of overlapping multiple partner headquarters configurations, the resulting power and political tensions between headquarters, and the consequent effects of multiple interventions in subsidiary value-creating activities remain an understudied phenomenon. We present a rich case study of how complex overlapping headquarters configurations develop. Then, we present the processes underlying power and political tensions that lead to parenting disadvantages between partner headquarters. We find that multiple and simultaneous headquarters interventions place the subsidiary between a rock and a hard place, as it becomes subject to conflicting headquarters voices. We contribute to the literature on parenting in multinational enterprises through an increased understanding of overlapping headquarters configurations and the power and political tensions between headquarters configurations that stimulate interventions in subsidiary R&D mandates.

Ryan, Paul; Buciuni, Giulio, Giblin, Majella & Andersson, Ulf (2022)

Global Value Chain Governance in the MNE: A Dynamic Hierarchy Perspective

California Management Review, 64(2), s. 97- 118. Doi: 10.1177/00081256211068544 - Full text in research archive

The pandemic crisis caused a severe shock to global value chains and led to supply shortages for complex medical goods such as respiratory ventilators. What followed were calls to reshore production for security, and the loss of efficiencies from foreign global value chain (GVC) operations for the multinational enterprise. This article merges internalization and GVC theory to demonstrate a dynamic hierarchy managerial response to these crisis conditions. An optimally configured GVC under hierarchy governance can resiliently eliminate global supply line ruptures yet maintain the benefits of global efficiency.

Cheikh-el-Chabab, Maya Kristina; Kuivalainen, Olli, Andersson, Ulf, Eskola, Roope & Mikkola, Aki (2021)

Using Real-time Simulation in Company Value Chains and Business Models for Value Creation

Ukko, Juhani; Saunila, Minna, Heikkinen, Janne, Semken, R Scott & Mikkola, Aki (red.). Real-time Simulation for Sustainable Production Enhancing User Experience and Creating Business Value

Memar, Noushan; Andersson, Ulf, Dahlin, Peter & Ekman, Peter (2021)

The effect of digital transformation on subsidiary influence in the multinational enterprise

Ekman, Peter; Dahlin, Peter & Keller, Christina (red.). Management and Information Technology after Digital Transformation

This chapter discusses digital transformation in Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) from a strategic viewpoint and argues that the MNE headquarters’ digital transformation strategy can affect the influence of the MNE’s subsidiaries within the firm group. MNE digitalisation has different effects, depending on the emphasis on ‘high-tech’ or ‘high-touch’ capabilities. Further, the subsidiary’s influence depends on its internal embeddedness and involves both relational and structural components, which define the subsidiary’s entrepreneurial behaviour. The proposed conceptual framework includes subsidiary influence and digital transformation strategy dimensions. It provides recommendations for managers and calls for further theorising and testing the potential implications of digitalisation for MNEs

Reichstein-Scholz, Harriet; Giroud, Axèle, Yamin, Mo & Andersson, Ulf (2021)

Sales to centre stage! Determinants of the division in strategic sales decisions within the MNE

International Business Review, 30(6) Doi: 10.1016/j.ibusrev.2021.101859

Extant international business (IB) literature on Headquarter (HQ)-subsidiary relationships has established that where decision-making occurs, it influences a firm’s performance. Existing studies propose that the degree of autonomy in decision-making at subsidiary level is not the same for all value chain activities, paying more attention to upstream activities. This paper contributes by exploring decision-making autonomy in downstream strategic sales activities. Sales has rarely been centre stage in IB investigations and we therefore lack thorough understanding of its role and importance within the MNE decision-making processes. Conducting a mixed methods exploratory study in the fast-moving consumer goods sector in Germany, we test for antecedents and outcomes of subsidiaries’ strategic sales decision-making autonomy. Results confirm external and internal embeddedness as antecedents, and the dominant role played by the local context, but provide insights into potential risks of internal embeddedness. Results challenge existing theory inasmuch as subsidiary importance is not a significant driver. A critical implication of this finding is that, compared to upstream activities, the HQ may not have the option of mandating a subsidiary to transfer sales strategy skills and knowledge across the network. Our results show that, in an era of globalisation of sales, and internationalisation of retailers, HQ managers must pay heed to directly interacting with subsidiaries and to sharing strategic sales decision-making across the network to consolidate the MNE’s global sales strategy.

Andersson, Ulf; Forsgren, Mats & Holm, Ulf (2021)

Subsidiaries as Sources for Learning in Multinational Enterprises: A Commentary on the Importance of External Embeddedness

Mellahi, Kamel; Meyer, Klaus, Narula, Rajneesh, Surdu, Irina & Verbeke, Alain (red.). The Oxford Handbook of International Business Strategy

In the beginning of the twenty-first century, Andersson, Forsgren, and Holm (2001, 2002) published two highly cited articles on the relationship between network embeddedness and the evolution of multinational enterprise (MNE) subsidiary roles. These articles paved the way for research examining the importance of market knowledge acquired by an MNE subsidiary through being embedded in local networks, which would, in time, be expected to positively influence the competence development of other MNE units. The present chapter presents an overview of the key contributions of these seminal papers, followed by a discussion about the theoretical and empirical advancements concerning the relationship between embeddedness and subsidiary competence development. We provide suggestions around how to conceptualize competence development and knowledge transfer in relation to subsidiary external embeddedness and highlight areas where more research is needed.

Andersson, Ulf (2020)

The Rising Tensions between Efficiency and Resilience in Global Value Chains in the Post COVID-19 World

Transnational Corporations Journal, 27(3), s. 127- 142.

This paper explores the rising tensions between efficiency and resilience in global value chains (GVCs) in the post-COVID-19 world and discusses their potential implications for managing and coordinating GVCs. It considers efficiency and resilience in GVCs in relation to each other and explores the possibility of tensions between the two concepts. Particularly, it is argued that, while efficiency and resilience in GVCs may be at odds with each other in the short-term, they are not necessarily mutually exclusive in the long run. The paper adds to the discussions of trade-offs involved in managing contemporary GVCs and offers a new perspective on the interplay between efficiency and resilience. Embedded in the discussion of resilience vis-à-vis efficiency, we also provide a long-term perspective to prepare for and deal with global pandemics – or other risks – in an increasingly interconnected world. We lay out decisions and steps involved in finding the balance between efficiency and resilience, as both need to be maintained concurrently over longer periods.

Riviere, Monica; Bass, A. Erin & Andersson, Ulf (2020)

Dynamic capability development in multinational enterprises: Reconciling routine reconfiguration between the headquarters and subsidiaries

Global Strategy Journal Doi: 10.1002/gsj.1389 - Full text in research archive

Starting from the premise that firms need dynamic capabilities to adapt to changing environments, we discuss how multinational enterprises (MNEs) develop dynamic capabilities from internationalization. Unlike domestic firms that develop dynamic capabilities within one organizational system, MNEs are inherently multi‐level systems with the headquarters and subsidiaries. In this paper, we focus on how internationalization depth and breadth function as sources of learning and unlearning in the headquarters and subsidiaries, and how this serves as the antecedent for routine reconfiguration and dynamic capability development in the MNE. We theorize that the headquarters' and subsidiaries' brokering capabilities are critical for reconciling routine reconfiguration at the two levels so that dynamic capability development can occur, and the MNE can adapt to environmental changes.

Gillmore, Edward; Andersson, Ulf & Ekman, Peter (2020)

The enduring effects of relational attributes on subsidiary evolution after mandate loss

Global Strategy Journal, s. 1- 32. Doi: 10.1002/gsj.1391 - Full text in research archive

We explore the importance of the relational attributes, trust and commitment, and their association with subsidiary development after mandate loss. We examine how greenfield and acquired subsidiaries, through their interaction with headquarters and sister subsidiaries, develop relational attributes through mutual‐orientated adaption. These relational attributes are subsequently important elements in upholding and developing subsidiary activities despite the loss of a mandate. We trail this process through a longitudinal field study following the evolution of four multinational enterprise (MNE) subsidiaries. We explain how the subsidiaries relational attributes and part of their activities, associated with its mandates, remain even after the loss of a mandate. The study shows how these relational attributes mitigate and compensate for formal mandate loss.

Ryan, Paul; Buciuni, Giulio, Giblin, Majella & Andersson, Ulf (2020)

Subsidiary upgrading and global value chain governance in the multinational enterprise

Global Strategy Journal, 10(3), s. 496- 519. Doi: 10.1002/gsj.1387 - Full text in research archive

Upgrading and governance in global value chains (GVCs) have been understood mainly through studying the buyer–supplier transaction, where the supplier is typically an independent contractor from a developing economy. Little is known about how subsidiaries of multinational enterprises (MNEs) can upgrade in a GVC, whose core activities are coordinated through the “hierarchy” governance model. Using an in‐depth longitudinal single case study in the medical devices industry, we explain how a subsidiary can accomplish upgrading in an intra‐MNE GVC and, over time, increase its control of this GVC reaching a joint coordinator role for its governance. Our findings show that partaking in innovation may not be the final stage of a subsidiary's upgrading but can represent the start of a new phase that culminates with joint coordination of the GVC.

Andersson, Ulf; Brewster, Chris, Minbaeva, Dana, Narula, Rajneesh & Wood, Geoffrey (2019)

The IB/ IHRM interface: Exploring the potential of intersectional theorizing

Journal of World Business, 54(5) Doi: 10.1016/j.jwb.2019.100998 - Full text in research archive

Although the core concepts underlying IB and IHRM provide a common lexicon and epistemology, this commonality is often more implicit than explicit. We highlight not only the common ground but also the lack of critical dialogue between the two fields. This paper asks: What can each field learn from the other? What do scholars from IB learn from IHRM and vice versa? We identify a possible agenda and concerns regarding theory building as a basis for dialogue between the two fields.

Santangelo, Grazia D; Dellestrand, Henrik & Andersson, Ulf (2019)

Institutional antecedents of subsidiary external embeddedness: Coping with regulatory competitive constraints

Long Range Planning, 52(4) Doi: 10.1016/j.lrp.2018.10.001 - Full text in research archive

Lunnan, Randi; Tomassen, Sverre, Andersson, Ulf & Benito, Gabriel R G (2019)

Dealing with headquarters in the multinational corporation: a subsidiary perspective on organizing costs

Journal of Organization Design, 8(1), s. 1- 24. Doi: 10.1186/s41469-019-0052-y - Full text in research archive

Gillmore, Edward; Andersson, Ulf & Memar, Noushan (2018)

How subsidiaries influence innovation in the MNE value chain

Transnational Corporations Journal, 25(1), s. 73- 100. Doi: 10.18356/d998ea62-en

Najafi Tavani, Zhaleh; Robson, Mathew, Zefahrian, Ghasem, Andersson, Ulf & Yo, C (2018)

Building Subsidiary Local Responsiveness: (When) Does the Directionality of Intrafirm Knowledge Transfers Matter?

Journal of World Business, 53(4), s. 475- 492. Doi: 10.1016/j.jwb.2018.01.004

Ryan, Paul; Gibblin, Majella, Andersson, Ulf & Clancy, Johanna (2018)

Subsidiary knowledge creation in co-evolving contexts

International Business Review, 27(5), s. 915- 932. Doi: 10.1016/j.ibusrev.2018.02.003

O'Brien, Donal; Sharkey Scott, Pamela, Andersson, Ulf, Ambos, Tina C & Fu, Na (2018)

The microfoundations of subsidiary initiatives: How subsidiary manager activities unlock entrepreneurship

Global Strategy Journal Doi: 10.1002/gsj.1200

Andersson, Ulf; Athreye, Suma & Batsakis, Georgios (2016)

Complementarity and Substitution in the Knowledge Networks of R&D Subsidiaries

Ambos, Tina C; Ambos, Bjørn & Birkinshaw, Julian (red.). Perspectives on Headquarters – Subsidiary Relationships in the Contemporary MNC

Andersson, Ulf; Dasi, Ángels, Mudambi, Ram & Pedersen, Torben (2016)

Technology, innovation and knowledge: The importance of ideas and international connectivity

Journal of World Business, 51(1), s. 153- 162. Doi: 10.1016/j.jwb.2015.08.017

Cuervo-Cazurra, Alvaro; Andersson, Ulf, Brannen, Mary, Nielsen, Bo & Reuber, Rebecca (2016)

Can I trust your findings? Ruling out alternative explanations in international business research

Journal of International Business Studies, 47(8), s. 881- 897. Doi: 10.1057/s41267-016-0005-4

Najafi-TAvani, Z; Zaefarian, G., Henneberg, S.C., Naude, P., Giroud, A. & Andersson, Ulf (2015)

Subsidiary Knowledge Development in Knowledge Intensive Business Services: A Configuration Approach

Journal of International Marketing, 23(4), s. 22- 43. Doi: 10.1509/jim.14.0150

Andersson, Ulf; Ekman, Peter & Erixon, Cecilia (2015)

Internal MNC structures’ bearing on externally embedded subsidiaries’ organizational performance

Larimo, Jorma; Nummela, Niina & Mainela, Tuija (red.). Handbook on international alliance and network research

Andersson, Ulf; Gaur, Ajai, Mudambi, Ram & Persson, Magnus (2015)

Unpacking Inter-unit Knowledge Transfer in Multinational Enterprises

Global Strategy Journal, 5(3), s. 241- 255. Doi: 10.1002/gsj.1100

Andersson, Ulf; Buckley, Peter J. & Dellestrand, Henrik (2015)

In the right place at the right time!: The influence of knowledge governance tools on knowledge transfer and utilization in MNEs

Global Strategy Journal, 5(1), s. 27- 47. Doi: 10.1002/gsj.1088

Perri, Alessandra & Andersson, Ulf (2014)

Knowledge outflows from foreign subsidiaries and the tension between knowledge creation and knowledge protection: Evidence from the semiconductor industry

International Business Review, 23(1), s. 63- 75. Doi: 10.1016/j.ibusrev.2013.08.007

Andersson, Ulf; Benito, Gabriel R G, Lunnan, Randi & Tomassen, Sverre (2020)

The Puzzling Effects of Social Integration on Knowledge Transfer

[Academic lecture]. Strategic Management Society Annual Conference, Virtual, October 2020.

Lunnan, Randi; Tomassen, Sverre, Andersson, Ulf & Benito, Gabriel R G (2018)

The down side of social integration: A discussion of precarious HQ-subsidiary relations and knowledge transfer

[Academic lecture]. Academy of International Business Annual Meeting.

Tomassen, Sverre; Lunnan, Randi, Andersson, Ulf & Benito, Gabriel R G (2017)

The Dark Side of Social Integration: Knowledge Transfer, Bargaining, and Social Integration Mechanisms

[Academic lecture]. SMS Special Conference Banff.

Lunnan, Randi; Tomassen, Sverre, Benito, Gabriel R G & Andersson, Ulf (2017)

The Darker Side of Social Integration: A Discussion of Bargaining Costs and Knowledge Transfer

[Academic lecture]. EIBA Annual Conference.

Lunnan, Randi; Tomassen, Sverre, Andersson, Ulf & Benito, Gabriel R G (2016)

A Subsidiary Perspective on Organizing Costs in Multinational Corporations: The Roles of Distance, Coordination and Relationship

[Academic lecture]. Academy of International Business Annual Conference.

Lunnan, Randi; Tomassen, Sverre, Andersson, Ulf & Benito, Gabriel R G (2016)

Governance and the Roles of Distance, Coordination, and Relationship Atmosphere in the MNC: A View from the Periphery

[Academic lecture]. European International Business Academy Annual Conference.

Andersson, Ulf; Tomassen, Sverre & Benito, Gabriel R G (2015)

Management Costs Incurred by Headquarters Choice of Foreign Operation Method

[Academic lecture]. European International Business Academy Annual Conference.

Andersson, Ulf; Benito, Gabriel R G & Lunnan, Randi (2014)

Costs and Performance Implications from HQs Intervention in Subsidiaries’ Affairs

[Academic lecture]. Strategic Management Society Annual International Conference.

Academic Degrees
Year Academic Department Degree
1997 Uppsala University Ph.D Dr. Oecon.
1988 Uppsala University Bachelor
Work Experience
Year Employer Job Title
2013 - Present BI Norwegian Business School Adjunct professor
2015 - 2017 KU Leuven University Visiting Professor
2014 - 2017 Leeds University Business School Visiting Professor
2009 - 2013 Copenhagen Business School Professor
2011 - 2011 Johannes Kepler University Visiting Professor
2008 - 2009 Copenhagen Business School Visiting Professor
2007 - 2009 Wirtschaft Universität Wien Visiting Professor
2004 - 2009 Uppsala University Professor
2001 - 2004 Uppsala University Associate Professor
2001 - 2003 Uppsala University Head of Department
2000 - 2001 Uppsala University Assistant Professor
1988 - 2000 Uppsala University Lecturer