Browsing by Subject "knowledge transfer"

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  • Vaara, Eero; Tienari, Janne; Björkman, Ingmar (Nordic Organization Studies, 2012)
    We argue in this article that an ‘essentialist’ conception of knowledge has prevented both researchers and practitioners from understanding some of the fundamental reasons for the problems and disappointments often encountered in knowledge transfer processes in the context of mergers and acquisitions. As a step towards developing alternative approaches, we outline in this article a sensemaking perspective on the transfer of knowledge. We focus on a particularly revealing empirical case – the creation of the pan-Nordic financial services group called Nordea – to uncover sensemaking processes and patterns that are likely to characterize post-merger knowledge transfer. In our analysis, we identify four specific sensemaking processes around the transfer of ‘best practices’: identification, evaluation, (re)contextualization, and (re)configuration. We in particular highlight how these processes are characterized by inherent complexity, ambiguity and politics that are often bypassed in more ‘essentialist’ analyses.
  • Lesyk, O. (Helsingin yliopisto, taloustieteen laitos, 2005)
  • Barner-Rasmussen, Wilhelm (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2003)
    Economics and Society
    Multinational corporations (MNCs) are commonly perceived as networks of differentiated units, dependent for their competitive edge on the sharing of different kinds of internal resources. This ‘differentiated network’ view of the MNC strongly emphasizes the crucial role of interunit knowledge sharing, the topic of this thesis. The five essays presented here contribute to the research on interunit knowledge sharing in MNCs by focusing on the roles played by language, identity, and feedback seeking in the knowledge sharing process. While these factors have occasionally been brought up in previous research as potentially relevant for interunit knowledge sharing, they have so far been subject to limited empirical examination – an important omission which this thesis is an effort to redress. Furthermore, the treatment of the topic is anchored in a theoretical framework based on social capital. This perspective contributes to MNC research by providing a comprehensive framework for examining the significance of social relationships in interunit interaction. The findings can be summarized in two main points. Firstly, language skills and shared identity appear to promote the accumulation of interunit social capital. Secondly, high levels of interunit social capital seem to promote interunit knowledge sharing and feedback seeking. These observations raise a number of both theoretical and practical issues of considerable relevance for MNC management.
  • Junni, Paulina (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2012)
    Economics and Society – 241
    Acquisitions are among the most important growth and internationalization strategies for firms. Nevertheless, many acquisitions fail to create financial value for acquirers. An emerging body of literature that takes a knowledge-based view points to post-acquisition knowledge transfer as a key value creation mechanism in acquisitions. This stream of research has tended to view synergies as the result of either accessing new and unique knowledge from the partner firm, exploiting superior knowledge in the partner firm that makes it more effective, or by combining the knowledge of the acquisition partners in new ways. Whilst previous research has shed light on post-acquisition knowledge transfer, there are a number of gaps in our understanding of the factors that influence it. First, few studies have examined the relative impact of different knowledge transfer determinants. More specifically, socio-cultural and political factors have received less attention. Whilst case studies have included more variables, the small sample size of the studies limits their generalizability. Second, indirect relationships such as moderating variables and antecedents to independent variables have been explored less. Third, few larger-scale studies have examined knowledge transfer both from the acquiring firm to the target and from the target firm to the acquirer. The aim of this thesis is therefore to examine how socio-cultural factors, political factors and knowledge characteristics influence post-acquisition knowledge transfer in different directions: from the acquiring firm to the target and from the target firm to the acquirer. The thesis consists of four essays: one conceptual and three quantitative. These essays examine post-acquisition knowledge transfer from different theoretical perspectives. The empirical essays draw on unique datasets based on surveys that cover acquisitions by Finnish firms in Finland and abroad between 2001 and 2010. More specifically, Essay 1, which is a conceptual paper, develops an integrative model of post-acquisition knowledge transfer, emphasizing the dynamic aspects of the process. Essay 2 focuses on socio-political aspects of post-acquisition knowledge transfer, highlighting the negative effects of the ‘fear of exploitation’ on the part of the sender and the ‘fear of contamination’ on the part of the receiver on the process. Essay 3 connects the cultural and knowledge transfer discourses in acquisitions by examining how the causal ambiguity of the sender’s knowledge, cultural integration and partner attractiveness impact post-acquisition knowledge transfer both directly and indirectly. Finally, Essay 4 develops a multi-level model of post-acquisition knowledge transfer determinants and their antecedents. It examines the indirect effects of knowledge complementarity and complexity and of the target’s cultural acceptance and preservation on post-acquisition knowledge transfer through their influence on cultural learning and collective teaching initiatives on the part of the acquiring and target firms. This thesis offers three main contributions. First, by drawing on different management theories, this thesis shows the relative impact of socio-cultural and political factors and of knowledge characteristics on post-acquisition knowledge transfer. Second, the study highlights differences between how the factors mentioned above influence knowledge transfer, depending on the direction – from the acquirer to the target or vice versa. Third, by examining moderating relationships and antecedents to independent variables, the study sheds light on the more complex and indirect relationships between knowledge transfer determinants.
  • Peltokorpi, Vesa (Hanken School of Economics, 2014)
    This paper focuses on the multi-faceted role of language and language-sensitive recruitment processes in knowledge transfer in multinational corporations (MNCs). In particular, we develop a framework that helps to better understand how language-sensitive recruitment is related to competence, networks, identity and power. We started by conducting a qualitative interview-based study of 101 MNC subsidiaries. This analysis elucidates the productive and counterproductive effects of language-sensitive recruitment on knowledge transfer related to communication competence, networks, identity, and power. To further understanding of the productive and counterproductive effects, we conducted a quantitative study in 285 MNC subsidiaries. We found an inverted U-shaped relationship between language-sensitive recruitment and knowledge transfer. Together, these two studies provide a better understanding of the multifaceted and at times counterintuitive implications of language-sensitive recruitment on knowledge transfer in MNCs. By elucidating these effects, this paper contributes to the stream of research examining the role of language in MNCs and international business more generally. It also adds to research on MNC knowledge transfer that to date has focused little attention on language. By elaborating on the potential unintended consequences of language-sensitive recruitment, this paper also has implications on international human resource management research.
  • Li, Li (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2004)
    Economics and Society
    It is suggested that the ability and practices of how the multinational corporation (MNC) manages knowledge transfer among its geographically dispersed subsidiary units are crucial for the building and development of firm competitive advantage. However, cross-border transfer of valuable organizational knowledge is likely to be problematic and laborious, especially within diversified and differentiated MNCs. Using data collected from 164 western multinational companies’ subsidiary units located in China and Finland, this study aims to investigate cross-border knowledge transfer within the MNC. It explores a number of factors that influence the transfer of knowledge among units in the differentiated MNC. The study consists of five individual papers. Paper 1 investigates a range of organizational mechanisms that may positively influence a subsidiary’s propensity to undertake knowledge transfers to other parts of the corporation. Paper 2 explores the impact of subsidiary location on the motivational dispositions of knowledge receiving units to value and accept knowledge from subsidiaries located in economically less advanced countries. Paper 3 examines the influence of social capital variables on knowledge transfer in dyadic relationships between foreign-owned subsidiaries and their sister and patent units. Paper 4 provides some initial insights into potentially different effects of trust and shared vision in intra-organizational vs. inter-organizational relationships. Using a case study setting, Paper 5 explores means and mechanisms used in transferring human resource management practices to Western MNCs’ business units in China from a cultural perspective. The results of the study show that MNC management through choices regarding organizational controls can encourage and enhance corporate-internal knowledge transfer. It also finds evidence that more knowledge is transferred from subsidiaries located in an industrialized country (e.g., Finland) than subsidiaries located in a developing country (e.g., China). While the study has highlighted the importance of social capital in promoting knowledge transfer, it has also uncovered some new findings that the effect of trust and shared vision may be contingent upon different contexts. Finally, in Paper 5, a number of mechanisms used in transferring selected HRM practices and competences to the Chinese business units have been identified. The findings suggest that cultural differences should be taken into consideration in the choice and use of different transfer mechanisms.
  • Koveshnikov, Alexei (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2014)
    Economics and Society – 278
    Multinational corporations (MNC) are often presented as powerful but ‘faceless’ institutional actors that shape the world we live in. However, we have lately seen increasing interest in actual ‘faces,’ that is the key actors, behind the MNC’s functioning in relation to the cases of fraud and bankruptcy that, together with other factors, led to the severe financial crisis at the end of 2000s. The cases of Enron and Lehman Brothers easily come to mind. It raised concerns that power abuses and tricky political games developing and proliferating within MNCs can have tremendous corporate as well as societal impacts and consequences. Yet, as of now, the micro-level power and political relations between actors in MNCs and their implications, i.e. what I call in this thesis ‘micro-politics,’ are seldom examined. Moreover, neither is the role that the institutional, cultural and sociopolitical contexts play in these micro-political relations among actors within MNCs sufficiently understood. Against this background, in this thesis I attempt to give ‘a face’ to the MNC. That is, I apply a number of ideas from comparative institutional theory, social cognition and translation studies to examine micro-political aspects of the interactions between organizational actors in MNCs that determine how these corporations function both on day to day basis and in a longer run. By so doing, I strive to offer a more nuanced, contextualized, and actor-focused sociological understanding of power and political interactions among organizational actors within the MNC. It is important to study and comprehend these processes in order to better explain them and to some extent control them.
  • Forsman, Maria; Solitander, Nikodemus (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2003)
    Working Papers
    Both management scholars and economic geographers have studied knowledge and argued that the ability to transfer knowledge is critical to competitive success. Networks and other forms for cooperation are often the context when analyzing knowledge transfer within management research, while economic geographers focus on the role of the cluster for knowledge transfer and creation. With the common interest in knowledge transfer, few attempts to interdisciplinary research have been made. The aim of this paper is to outline the knowledge transfer concepts in the two strands of literature of management and economic geography (EG). The paper takes an analytical approach to review the existing contributions and seek to identify the benefits of further interaction between the disciplines. Furthermore, it offers an interpretation of the concepts of cluster and network, and suggests a clearer distinction between their respective definitions. The paper posits that studies of internal networks transcending national borders and clusters are not necessarily mutually exclusive when it comes to transfer of knowledge and the learning process of the firm. Our conclusion is that researchers in general seem to increasingly acknowledge the importance of studying both the effect of and the need for geographical proximity and external networks for the knowledge transfer process, but that there exists equivocalness in defining clusters and networks.
  • Vaara, Eero; Sarala, Riikka; Stahl, Gunter K.; Björkman, Ingmar (Hanken School of Economics, 2012)
    The purpose of this paper is to elucidate the effects of organizational and national cultural differences on international acquisitions. We argue that cultural differences prompt social identity building that leads to ‘us versus them’ thinking and thereby creates the potential for social conflict. We also maintain that the same cultural differences can contribute to learning in terms of knowledge transfer. We develop a structural equation model to test these hypothesized effects on a sample of related international acquisitions. Our analysis shows that cultural differences at the organizational level are positively associated with social conflict, but that national cultural differences can decrease social conflict. Furthermore, both organizational and national cultural differences are positively associated with knowledge transfer. This analysis shows the importance of disentangling the various effects that cultural differences have on international acquisitions. It also suggests that national cultural differences are less of a problem in international acquisitions than is usually assumed.