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Knowledge transfer and expatriation in multinational corporations: The role of disseminative capacity

Dana B. Minbaeva (Center for Knowledge Governance, Department of International Economics and Management, Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen, Denmark)
Snejina Michailova (Center for Knowledge Governance, Department of International Economics and Management, Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen, Denmark)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Article publication date: 1 December 2004

Abstract

Research on multinational corporation (MNC) knowledge transfer has argued continuously for the behavior of knowledge senders to be a determinant of knowledge transfer. Although the importance of disseminative capacity regarding knowledge transfer has been illustrated in numerous conceptual studies, substantial empirical support is largely absent. Based on previous studies, re‐operationalizes disseminative capacity as being dependent upon the ability and the willingness of organizational actors to transfer knowledge where and when it is needed in the organization. Using the context of expatriation, suggests that MNCs may apply different mechanisms depending on whether they want to develop expatriates' ability or willingness to transfer knowledge. Suggests that MNCs may enhance expatriates' willingness to transfer knowledge through the employment of long‐term expatriate assignments, whereas expatriates' ability to transfer knowledge may be increased through their involvement in temporary assignments such as short‐term assignments, frequent flyer arrangements, and international commuting. Tests the hypotheses empirically based on data from 92 subsidiaries of Danish MNCs located in 11 countries.

Keywords

Citation

Minbaeva, D.B. and Michailova, S. (2004), "Knowledge transfer and expatriation in multinational corporations: The role of disseminative capacity", Employee Relations, Vol. 26 No. 6, pp. 663-679. https://doi.org/10.1108/01425450410562236

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited