Intra-organizational knowledge exchange: An examination of reverse capability transfer in multinational corporations

Andreas Schotter*, Nick Bontis

*Korrespondierende*r Autor*in für diese Arbeit

Publikation: Wissenschaftliche FachzeitschriftOriginalbeitrag in FachzeitschriftBegutachtung


Purpose - Recent research on intra-organizational knowledge-transfer showed that new capability development within multinational corporations shifts from parent companies to foreign subsidiaries. This paper seeks to identify antecedents and barriers for reverse capability-transfer in multinational corporations. Design/methodology/approach - The paper adopts a multiple case study approach based on active interviews at six subsidiaries of a multinational manufacturing company. Findings - The results suggest that subsidiary autonomy, environmental heterogeneity, and managerial initiatives are all necessary antecedents of unique capability development at the subsidiary level, but that companies do not utilize foreign subsidiary-originated capabilities in their home-country operations. The results also show that person-to-person communication is required for intra-MNC capability-transfer in any direction, and that other forms of communication seem to be inefficient. Research limitations/implications - A logical next step is the investigation of the phenomenon at the headquarters level with the goal to identify specific barriers for reverse capability-transfer. Practical implications - The findings support the idea that managers of multinational corporations should recognize that new unique capabilities originate not only at the parent company level but also at the foreign subsidiary level, and that it could be beneficial for the company as a whole to transfer these new capabilities back to the home country operation. Originality/value - The study shows that in-depth interviews provide the richest form of data for this type of research. Moreover, it provides a counter-intuitive perspective on intra-organizational knowledge and capability-transfer in multinational corporations.

Seiten (von - bis)149-164
FachzeitschriftJournal of Intellectual Capital
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2009
Extern publiziertJa

Dieses zitieren