The speed of knowledge transfer within multinational enterprises: the role of social capital

Jiun‐Shiu Chen (College of Business, McNeese State University, Lake Charles, Louisiana, USA)
Al S. Lovvorn (Citadel School of Business Administration, The Citadel, Charleston, South Carolina, USA)

International Journal of Commerce and Management

ISSN: 1056-9219

Publication date: 15 March 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The success of knowledge transfer very much depends on a company's ability to effectively manage their knowledge transfer process. The purpose of this paper is to argue that a critical component in understanding knowledge transfer in the international arena is the speed of that knowledge transfer (and those factors that influence that speed) within a multinational enterprise (MNE).

Design/methodology/approach

In this paper, social capital theory is used to argue that social capital is related to the speed of knowledge transfer within an MNE. The three dimensions of social capital, i.e. relational, dimensional, and cognitive, facilitate the transfer process and effect the rapidity of technology transfer.

Findings

The role of knowledge transfer speed in MNEs knowledge management has been neglected and, yet, the speed of knowledge transfer is critical for MNE organizations to build or maintain their competitive advantage. A critical component in understanding knowledge transfer in the international arena is the speed of that knowledge transfer (and those factors that influence that speed) between different units.

Originality/value

This study examines social capital to better understand knowledge management at the intra‐firm level of an MNE. The success of knowledge transfer very much depends on a company's ability to effectively manage that knowledge transfer process. Using social capital theory, we argued that the three dimensions of social capital (relational, dimensional, and cognitive) are related to the speed of knowledge transfer from the parent company to the foreign subsidiary.

Keywords

Citation

Chen, J. and Lovvorn, A. (2011), "The speed of knowledge transfer within multinational enterprises: the role of social capital", International Journal of Commerce and Management, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 46-62. https://doi.org/10.1108/10569211111111694

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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