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A commentary on “Knowledge transfer between Russian and Western firms: whose absorptive capacity is in question?” by Snejina Michailova and Irina Jormanainen

Charalambos Vlachoutsicos (Athens University of Economics and Business, Athens, Greece)

critical perspectives on international business

ISSN: 1742-2043

Article publication date: 25 October 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The paper seeks to provide a commentary on Michailova and Jormanainen's viewpoint entitled “Knowledge transfer between Russian and Western firms: whose absorptive capacity is in question?”(CPoIB, Vol. 7 No. 3).

Design/methodology/approach

The paper offers a critical analysis of issues regarding knowledge transfer and absorptive capacity in the context of business interactions between Russian and Western firms.

Findings

Based on the author's 25 years of experience in knowledge transfer between Western and Russian counterparts (managers, companies and researchers), the generic concepts “knowledge”, “Western” and “Russian” no longer provide meaningful points of reference for actual knowledge transfer.

Research limitations/implications

Research so far has failed to develop the tools for realistic assessment of current Russian and Western absorptive capacity and has provided inadequate explanations for the hurdles, resistances and other barriers still entailed in the process of knowledge transfer between the two sides. This commentary suggests that the basic assumptions behind the scholarly literature about knowledge transfer between Western and Russian interactants should be examined carefully and that research should focus on identifying the factors that facilitate as well as the factors that impede effective knowledge transfer. The scholarly conversation on the topic needs to continue, particularly through genuine collaboration between Russians and Westerners and between researchers and practitioners.

Practical implications

It is recommended that a system is needed for establishing and sustaining effective knowledge transfer which would both enrich understanding of how such transfer actually works and articulate specific behavorial guidelines that will help each side to transfer their relevant knowledge and increase their own absorptive capacity more effectively.

Originality/value

The commentary challenges some existing views and practices and outlines new directions in relation to both research and practice regarding knowledge transfer between Russian and Western firms.

Keywords

Citation

Vlachoutsicos, C. (2011), "A commentary on “Knowledge transfer between Russian and Western firms: whose absorptive capacity is in question?” by Snejina Michailova and Irina Jormanainen", critical perspectives on international business, Vol. 7 No. 4, pp. 357-363. https://doi.org/10.1108/17422041111180791

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited