On the different "worlds" of intra-organizational knowledge management: Understanding idiosyncratic variation in MNC cross-site knowledge-sharing practices

Helmut Kasper, Mark Lehrer, Jürgen Mühlbacher, Barbara Müller

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review

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This qualitative field study investigated cross-site knowledge sharing in a small sample of multinational corporations in three different MNC business contexts (global, multidomestic, transnational). The results disclose heterogeneous “worlds” of MNC knowledge sharing, ultimately raising the question as to whether the whole concept of MNC knowledge sharing covers a sufficiently unitary phenomenon to be meaningful. We derive a non-exhaustive typology of MNC knowledge-sharing practices: self-organizing knowledge sharing, technocratic knowledge sharing, and best practice knowledge sharing. Despite its limitations, this typology helps to elucidate a number of issues, including the latent conflict between two disparate theories of MNC knowledge sharing, namely “sender–receiver” and “social learning” theories (Noorderhaven & Harzing, 2009). More generally, we develop the term “knowledge contextualization” to highlight the way that firm-specific organizational features pre-define which knowledge is considered to be of special relevance for intra-organizational sharing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326 - 338
JournalInternational Business Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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