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Chapter 4 Expatriate Perspectives on Knowledge Transfers into Central and Eastern Europe

The Role of Expatriates in MNCs Knowledge Mobilization

ISBN: 978-1-78052-112-1, eISBN: 978-1-78052-113-8

ISSN: 1876-066X

Publication date: 10 October 2011

Abstract

Purpose –– The aim of the present study was to shed light on the role of Western expatriates in knowledge transfer processes in foreign subsidiaries in Central and Eastern Europe and the impediments they face in these roles in the context of socio-economic transformation.

Methodology/approach –– The findings are based on qualitative data collected via in-depth telephone interviews with 18 Finnish expatriates across a range of firms and industries –– nine located in Estonia and nine in the Czech Republic.

Findings –– The expatriates performed a wide variety of roles reflecting their use as mechanisms of control, coordination and the transfer of knowledge; however, the extent of their knowledge transfer activities was largely influenced by the MNCs' desired level of subsidiary integration. Challenges in the knowledge transferor role were identified at all three levels –– social, organisational and relational –– with some noticeable similarities and differences across the two countries.

Research limitations/implications –– This study included the views of expatriates only and not the views of other key stakeholders such as host-country employees and managers at headquarters. In order to verify the accounts of expatriates as well as establish a picture of how effective the expatriates are in their knowledge mobilisation roles, future research should endeavour to include other key parties in the knowledge transfer process.

Keywords

Citation

Smale, A. and Suutari, V. (2011), "Chapter 4 Expatriate Perspectives on Knowledge Transfers into Central and Eastern Europe", Mariano, S., Mohamed, M. and Mohiuddin, Q. (Ed.) The Role of Expatriates in MNCs Knowledge Mobilization (International Business and Management, Vol. 27), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 63-90. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1876-066X(2011)0000027007

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited