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Accessing external knowledge by Chinese firms: a conceptual framework

Osama Al‐Kwifi (College of Business, Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University, Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia)
Zafar U. Ahmed (Lebanese American University, Beirut, Lebanon)

Journal of Technology Management in China

ISSN: 1746-8779

Article publication date: 5 April 2013

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to introduce a conceptual framework for knowledge transfer between Chinese firms and universities around the world, based on a joint learning process. The transfer of knowledge is important to increase the innovative capabilities of Chinese firms by accessing more sources of new knowledge not available locally.

Design/methodology/approach

The framework is derived from the resource‐based perspective. Its main characteristics are defined, and the required stages are explained. The framework stresses the dynamic relationship among all stages, and the active interaction between interorganizational and intraorganizational learning processes.

Findings

Having a suitable process for selecting a partner is the pre‐condition for achieving effective knowledge transfer between university and firm, because it determines similar capabilities and how both partners can enhance the requirements of each other. In addition, the joint learning experience between university and firm will be rewarding to a large extent if high transparency, collaborative intent, informal communication and organizational commitment are adopted as the basis for joint learning.

Research limitations/implications

The study proposes a conceptual framework for knowledge transfer between Chinese firms and universities around the world, based on previous research in this domain. An empirical study will be beneficial to support this framework and to suggest needed modifications.

Originality/value

The study provides a greater understanding of the importance of a joint learning process between university and firm to support the innovative capacity of a firm. It emphasizes that the successful collaboration with a university can make a firm function as an external R&D hub.

Keywords

Citation

Al‐Kwifi, O. and Ahmed, Z.U. (2013), "Accessing external knowledge by Chinese firms: a conceptual framework", Journal of Technology Management in China, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 5-17. https://doi.org/10.1108/JTMC-04-2013-0021

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited