Institutional and resource-based explanations for subsidiary performance

Addressing calls to integrate insights from institutional theory and the resource-based view, we bring together dual theoretical explanations from institutional theory and the resource-based view to examine the effectiveness of transfer of practice and human capital development as two routes to subsidiary performance. Our study of Hong Kong firms with subsidiaries in Mainland China shows that both routes positively affect subsidiary performance. However, our data show that our sampled firms struggled to successfully transfer practices from their parents. We attribute an explanation for this to the characteristics of practices as organizational capabilities in which transfer is made harder by the difficulty in replicating such capabilities. Consequently, developing subsidiary human capital is an important ally to practice transfer as a means to achieve superior subsidiary performance. Our results raise interesting questions about practice transfer and the resource-based view relevant to future scholarly research.