Best practice is west practice? A sensemaking perspective on knowledge transfer in a merging organization

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/36915
Title: Best practice is west practice? A sensemaking perspective on knowledge transfer in a merging organization
Author: Vaara, Eero; Tienari, Janne; Björkman, Ingmar
Abstract: 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.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/36915
Date: 2012-09-25
Subject: knowledge
knowledge transfer
sensemaking
merger
acquisition
integration


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