How to be a winner in glocal management

17 December 2014

Björn Axelsson and André Knüppel, who both graduated in June 2014 from the Executive MBA programme at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg, have developed their thesis work into the book “How to be a winner in glocal management. The challenges of institutional duality”.

In their book, the authors discuss concepts like organisational culture, isomorphism (harmonisation of processes and work methods) and institutional duality. It targets readers with an interest in entrepreneurship, leadership, corporate development, politics and globalisation.

The book proposes guidelines for how globally active organisations can improve their effectiveness and level of engagement when implementing new strategies in local subsidiary organisations.

– We have developed a model that can be used to understand differing perspectives and to identify key success factors, as well as potential obstacles. To a large extent, one has to understand that success is all about the ability for middle managers to create a sense of meaning, about mobilising large groups of people towards a set of defined objectives, says Björn Axelsson. Glocal Management

The book explains the complexity involved as multinationals manage their subsidiaries and presents a framework that illustrates how decision-makers can improve collaboration and avoid conflicts between a company’s headquarters and its subsidiaries.

– Many people argue that there is a universal solution to the dilemma of how to go about implementing strategies – one that is defined at the headquarters. But the local context is often underestimated in these discussions. The local culture and the laws of the country is most often what characterizes subsidiaries. It is crucial to understand these contradicting perspectives and plan for how to handle them within the multinational corporation, Björn Axelsson continues.

During the Gothenburg Executive MBA programme, the participants spend overseas modules at universities and local companies in China and India. It was during these visits that Björn Axelsson and André Knüppel decided to write the book.

– The trips were fantastic! They gave us a new dimension on how multinationals succeed in entering these emerging markets. As we travelled India, for example, it became evident how substantial the cultural differences are and how vitally important the local culture and the local laws are for the level of success when establishing and managing a presence there, Björn Axelsson concludes.


For further information, please contact: Björn Axelsson, phone +46 765537760 André Knüppel, phone +47 90813855 Håkan Ericson, Managing Director, GU School of Executive Education, phone +46 31-786 5381, e-mail Björn Axelsson is an HR-director within a Scandinavian industry group and has led several HR-organisations in the past. He is also a member of the Executive Faculty of the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

André Knüppel is the CEO of a Scandinavian management consultancy. He has previously been the CEO of several subsidiaries within multinational corporations.

GU School of Executive Education delivers Sweden’s only AMBA-accredited Executive MBA programme and custom programmes for the private and public sectors. Clients are spread out across the globe, with programme deliveries e.g. in USA, India, Singapore, Hong Kong, China and South Korea. By designing programmes to combine academic rigour and practical relevance, we develop key employees of our clients.