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The role of geographical distance on the relationship between cultural intelligence and knowledge transfer

Davor Vlajcic (Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia)
Giacomo Marzi (Lincoln International Business School, University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK)
Andrea Caputo (Lincoln International Business School, University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK)
Marina Dabic (Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia) (Nottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK)

Business Process Management Journal

ISSN: 1463-7154

Article publication date: 4 July 2018

Issue publication date: 8 February 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the ways in which the geographical distance between headquarters and subsidiaries moderates the relationship between cultural intelligence and the knowledge transfer process.

Design/methodology/approach

A sample of 103 senior expatriate managers working in Croatia from several European and non-European countries was used to test the hypotheses. Data were collected using questionnaires, while the methodology employed to test the relationship between the variables was partial least square. Furthermore, interaction-moderation effect was utilized to test the impact of geographical distance and, for testing control variables, partial least square multigroup analysis was used.

Findings

Cultural intelligence plays a significant role in the knowledge transfer process performance. However, geographical distance has the power to moderate this relationship based on the direction of knowledge transfer. In conventional knowledge transfer, geographical distance has no significant impact. On the contrary, data have shown that, in reverse knowledge transfer, geographical distance has a moderately relevant effect. The authors supposed that these findings could be connected to the specific location of the knowledge produced by subsidiaries.

Practical implications

Multinational companies should take into consideration that the further away a subsidiary is from the headquarters, and the varying difference between cultures, cannot be completely mitigated by the ability of the manager to deal with cultural differences, namely cultural intelligence. Thus, multinational companies need to allocate resources to facilitate the knowledge transfer between subsidiaries.

Originality/value

The present study stresses the importance of cultural intelligence in the knowledge transfer process, opening up a new stream of research inside these two areas of research.

Keywords

Citation

Vlajcic, D., Marzi, G., Caputo, A. and Dabic, M. (2019), "The role of geographical distance on the relationship between cultural intelligence and knowledge transfer", Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 104-125. https://doi.org/10.1108/BPMJ-05-2017-0129

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited