Knowledge sharing of inpatriates

Tassilo Schuster (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Munich, Germany)
Dirk Holtbrügge (Department of International Management, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Nuremberg, Germany)
Franziska Engelhard (Department of International Management, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Nuremberg, Germany)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Publication date: 2 August 2019



The purpose of this study is to analyze the effects of inpatriates’ abilities, motivation and opportunities on knowledge sharing and the moderating role of boundary spanning in this context.


By integrating the ability–motivation–opportunity framework with the concept of boundary spanning four hypotheses are developed, which are tested against the data of 187 inpatriates working in Germany.


The study reveals that inpatriates’ motivation and certain opportunities are positively related to knowledge sharing, whereas inpatriates’ abilities do not show a positive effect. Moreover, it is shown that inpatriate boundary spanning has a moderating effect on this relationship.


Based on the results, the study enhances the current literature by introducing the concept of reputation asymmetry. Moreover, requirements of how inpatriates’ assignments should be designed and implications for further research are outlined.



Financial support for this research was provided to Tassilo Schuster in the form of a research grant from the Dr Theo and Friedl Schoeller Research Center for Business and Society.


Schuster, T., Holtbrügge, D. and Engelhard, F. (2019), "Knowledge sharing of inpatriates", Employee Relations, Vol. 41 No. 5, pp. 971-996.

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