The role and functions of head offices : towards increased complexity?
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- Working papers (SNF) 
There is a shortage of studies of what a head office is actually doing. In this paper we offer new insight into the operations of head offices by outlining three core functions; the strategy role, the co-ordination role and the control and policy role. In addition, we discuss how existing role are alternated and new tasks and functions are introduced. In a knowledge intense economy, in which competence and learning are pre-requisites for competitiveness, head offices are characterised by both increased complexity and tendency towards decentralisation of authority. Thus, there is a need for more sensitive management styles within large companies. Our discussion is based on empirical data from a postal survey among the largest companies in Norway and intensive case studies from a selection of these companies. Survey data are available from 123 head offices. In addition, case studies are conducted in 21 of these companies.