Knowledge and Power in MNCs

  • Ambos, Björn (Projektleitung)
  • Gärber, Lisa (Forscher*in)



ÖAW Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften


It has almost become an axiomatic that knowledge and learning are at the root of understanding how competitive advantage is gained and lost among firms. In international business research this has triggered the emergence of a "knowledge–based view of the firm", which regards the multinational corporation as a body of knowledge, which owes its existence to its superior ability (relative to markets) to transfer knowledge. However, given the importance of knowledge sharing for MNC survival, considerably less attention has been paid to the determinants of intra-firm knowledge flows. Along similar lines, empirical investigations of power have been limited to scattered cases and anecdotes in the study of the multinational corporation. While recent research indicates that the global dispersal of knowledge has made the MNC more like a power coalition and less like a hierarchical monolith, it is remarkably that the decentralization of knowledge and its effect on subsidiary power have only attracted little and rather fragmented research interest. What appears to be missing is a unifying framework that systematically investigates the link between a subsidiary's knowledge sharing strategy and its power advantage within an MNC context. My dissertation sets out to fill this gap by investigating a subsidiary's motivation to engage in knowledge outflows. The unit of analysis in my study will be the knowledge sharing subsidiary and its knowledge outflows. Studying the process of knowledge sharing from the perspective of the contributing subsidiary provides insights into the enablers as well as the impediments of knowledge transfers within MNCs. By conducting a single-respondent survey at the general subsidiary level, I wish to ensure a more accurate assessment of the causal relationship between subsidiary power and knowledge sharing among MNC units. The European Top 500will serve as a sample frame for the empirical investigation.
Tatsächlicher Beginn/ -es Ende1/01/0731/12/08