Agency-Based View of Learning within the Multinational Corporation
University of Surrey
September 21, 2009
Management Learning, Vol. 40, No. 3, pp. 259-274, 2009
Organizational learning within the international management field is commonly understood as knowledge transfer. Context-based and actor-centred investigations into the aspects of the social system that shape the learning process have received less attention. This study highlights the role of agency as embedded in MNC coordination networks where knowledge is distributed across a social system to account for non-isomorphic patterns of learning. It points to the social dimension of MNC learning by explicating actors’ responses to acquired knowledge. The study is based on case studies that systematically compare the ways in which parent company knowledge diffuses to subsidiaries in the European chemical industry. It concludes that learning within multinational corporations is shaped by actors’ orientation to drawing on the past, the present, and the future to inform their current practice beyond knowledge transfer.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 29
Keywords: Organizational learning, agency, knowledge transfer, multinational corporations
JEL Classification: M10Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: September 21, 2009
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