Gender diversity management in foreign subsidiaries: A comparative study in Germany and Japan
Gender (in)equality varies strongly across countries. However, research has not sufficiently addressed how subsidiaries of multinational companies respond to differences in gender equality between home and host countries. Based on interviews with 34 managers, our study explores how subsidiaries experience gender-related challenges in their home and host countries, what kinds of practices they implement to increase gender equality, and which role the headquarters play in the implementation of these practices. We do so by examining the cases of German subsidiaries in Japan and Japanese subsidiaries in Germany, two countries that differ greatly in gender equality. Building on our analysis, we systematically compare how subsidiaries respond to the institutional pressures from their home and host countries and develop a theoretical model that illustrates how gender diversity management in a subsidiary is contingent on the interaction of (1) global integration pressure from t he headquarters and (2) the level of gender equality in the home country relative to the host country, linked via different types of collaboration and practice transfer from the headquarters. Theoretical and practical implications of our findings are discussed.