Conventional and Reverse Knowledge Flows in Multinational Corporations

Journal of Management, Vol. 34, No. 5, pp. 882-902, 2008

Temple University School of Business Discussion Paper No. 08-0326

36 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2008 Last revised: 24 Apr 2014

See all articles by Qin Yang

Qin Yang

Robert Morris University

Ram Mudambi

Temple University - Department of Strategic Management

Klaus E. Meyer

China Europe International Business School (CEIBS); Copenhagen Business School - Center for East European Studies (CEES)

Date Written: March 1, 2008

Abstract

Leveraging knowledge from geographically disparate subsidiaries is a crucial source of competitive advantage for multinational corporations (MNCs). This study investigates the determinants of knowledge transfers to and from newly acquired subsidiaries in three transition economies in Central and Eastern European countries. We hypothesize that the determinants of 'conventional' knowledge transfers from MNC parents to subsidiaries and 'reverse' knowledge transfers from subsidiaries to MNC parents are based on different transfer logics. Based on a sample of 105 acquired subsidiaries, we find that organizational characteristics are important in conventional knowledge flows from headquarters, so that subsidiaries acquired with competence-creating objectives receive significantly larger inflows. Knowledge characteristics are important in reverse flows to headquarters so that subsidiaries whose knowledge is more relevant are able to transmit significantly larger outflows. Host country locations have significant moderating effects. The significance of the directional context in knowledge transfers is an important new finding. A revised version of this paper has appeared: Journal of Management, Vol. 34, No. 5, pp. 882-902, 2008.

Keywords: knowledge management, knowledge relevance, acquisitions, multinational subsidiaries, transition economies

JEL Classification: F23, F20, L23

Suggested Citation

Yang, Qin and Mudambi, Ram and Meyer, Klaus E., Conventional and Reverse Knowledge Flows in Multinational Corporations (March 1, 2008). Journal of Management, Vol. 34, No. 5, pp. 882-902, 2008; Temple University School of Business Discussion Paper No. 08-0326. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1115855

Qin Yang

Robert Morris University ( email )

6001 University Blvd.
Moon Township, PA 15108
United States

Ram Mudambi (Contact Author)

Temple University - Department of Strategic Management ( email )

Fox School of Business and Management
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States
215-204-2099 (Phone)
215-204-8029 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://sbm.temple.edu/~rmudambi/index.html

Klaus E. Meyer

China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) ( email )

Shanghai-Hongfeng Road
Shanghai 201206
Shanghai 201206
China

HOME PAGE: http://www.ceibs.edu/faculty/facultylist/09/100132.shtml

Copenhagen Business School - Center for East European Studies (CEES) ( email )

Porcelanshaven 24
2000 Frederiksberg
Denmark

HOME PAGE: http://www.klausmeyer.co.uk

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