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Absorptive capacity and organizational mechanisms: A systematic review and future directions

Laura Cordero P. (School of Economics and Management, Universidade do Minho, Braga, Portugal)
João J. Ferreira (Department of Management and Economics and NECE – Research Unit in Business Sciences, Universidade da Beira Interior, Faculdade de Ciencias Sociais e Humanas, Covilha, Portugal)

Review of International Business and Strategy

ISSN: 2059-6014

Article publication date: 7 March 2019

Issue publication date: 7 March 2019




This study aims to contribute to fill the gap in the existing absorptive capacity (AC) literature relating to how organizational mechanisms applied both at the national and international level affect a firm’s AC.


A systematic literature review was carried out using analytical articles from two sources – Web of Science and Scopus – aiming to cover as many studies related to the AC research topic.


The results show that the majority of the studies do not include a specific analysis of an organizational mechanism’s role as mediator or moderator of a firm’s AC. The analysis of the reverse knowledge set of mechanisms will provide for international business scholars and practitioners a compilation of specific strategies that MNC apply to improve AC.


The study identifies four sets of organizational mechanisms: external search strategy; organizational knowledge management; reverse knowledge; and mechanisms not orientated to knowledge management; and it describes their specific relationships with AC.



Cordero P., L. and Ferreira, J.J. (2018), "Absorptive capacity and organizational mechanisms: A systematic review and future directions", Review of International Business and Strategy, Vol. 29 No. 1, pp. 61-82.



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