Recent research has increasingly emphasized the micro-foundations of knowledge transformation in multi-national enterprises (MNEs). Although the literature has provided ample evidence of the enablers of and barriers to the translation of practices, less is known about the activities and efforts of translators that lead to specific types of translation in the context of the transfer of practices initiated at a MNE’s headquarters (HQ) to foreign subsidiaries. We apply a Scandinavian institutionalist approach to examine the translation of corporate social responsibility reporting, an HQ-initiated practice that is transferred to five foreign subsidiaries of a UK-based MNE. Our paper builds from a preliminary framework based on extant research to develop an extended framework of the micro-processes of translation. By theorizing the sequence of the micro-processes undertaken by translators, identifying the conditions under which they occur, and connecting them to the three types of translation, we provide a deep understanding of the micro-foundations of translation when transferring practices from HQ to subsidiaries. Our paper shows that translation is an evolving phenomenon and illuminates the importance of attending to the social, spatial, and temporal situatedness of translators. It also brings insights into the individual experience of institutional distance and its effects on translation.
- case-theoric approaches
- corporate social responsibility reporting
- institutional theory
- multinational enterprises (MNEs)
- subsidiary managers
- transfer of practices