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The paper examines whether plants with different roles in a multinational network of plants use different management systems to coordinate production and technical decision. The paper first tests and supports the Ferdows (1989) technology distinctions concerning plant roles. Following Ferdows (1989), it empirically examines the proposition that the degree of managerial autonomy varies according to strategic role of the plant. Our findings suggest that different plant roles require different management systems and different levels of responsibility for decisions. Further, it shows which systems need to be differentiated if plants with different roles are combined within the same business unit.

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