Causes of Conflicts for Local Information Technology Managers in Multinational Companies

Jongtae Yu; Jong-Wook Ha; Dong-Yop Oh
April 2009
Journal of Technology Research;Apr2009, Vol. 1, p1
Academic Journal
The local IT managers in foreign subsidiary of multinational operation are unique in the sense that they face dual conflicts: one is between local IT manager and headquarters caused by cultural difference existing between headquarters and subsidiaries, and the other is between the IT manager and local workforces. The objectives of the study are to identify factors causing the dual conflicts that the local IT manager of multinational enterprise must manage, and to analyze how the factors work in the conflicts resolution management in IT usage of workforces in local subsidiary. Based on literature review, we identified the effects of local IT manager participation, media, cultural difference, and firms' strategy on the dual conflicts. We employed a case study method because we attempt to explore meaningful insights on a phenomenon which is at an early stage (Hovav and Schuff, 2005). The study on Company X was carried out in the subsidiary of a United Kingdom based multinational corporation in South Korea. We employed qualitative data gathering methods such as participant observation and unstructured interviews over the years 2006-2007. From the interview and observation, we found that participation of local IT manager is strongly affected by headquarters' strategy. Under the standardized strategy, active participation of local IT manager would increase the conflict with headquarter whereas it decreases the conflicts with local end users. Cultural difference increases the conflict with headquarter and affect the level of adoption of the strategy. However, media richness has restrictive effect on decreasing conflict with headquarter and cultural difference.


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