Headquarters-subsidiary relationships and how they evolve are object of a lot of research. However, it remains open how headquarters-subsidiary relationships translate into everyday cooperation, the top-management perspective set aside. In order to widen our understanding of headquarters-subsidiary relations, we argue that it is necessary to focus on differing role understanding and a resulting mismatch of expectations. We extend the concept of perception gaps as origin of headquarters-subsidiary conflicts by linking it to the literature on team cognition. Furthermore, we identify a lower level of aggregation as a research opportunity and propose to study between-team interactions of headquarters and subsidiaries. Finally, we discuss implications for the premise that design shapes behaviour.