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Publication date: 19 October 2020

Joyce S. Osland, Betina Szkudlarek, Gary R. Oddou, Norihito Furuya and Juergen Deller

Knowledge transfer is an important global leader (GL) competency, given their role as knowledge brokers and capacity builders. However, knowledge transfer skills and the…

Abstract

Knowledge transfer is an important global leader (GL) competency, given their role as knowledge brokers and capacity builders. However, knowledge transfer skills and the transfer process itself have received scant attention from both global mobility and leadership scholars. Similarly, multinationals have seldom systematically collected and utilized repatriate knowledge, despite the competitive advantage it represents in a global knowledge economy. To fill this gap, an exploratory qualitative study employing critical incidents and interviews with a multi-country sample of 47 German, Japanese, and US repatriates identified variables that facilitate knowledge transfer attempts to the work unit. Our findings corroborate the proposed variables in a conceptual model of the transfer process and articulate the transfer skills that help explain their ability to transfer. Most importantly, our findings introduce an interactive transfer model that explicates the microprocess of transfer in the repatriate–work unit relationship. We conclude with implications for global leadership research and HRM practice.

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Article
Publication date: 16 May 2020

Sabrina Amir, Tyler G. Okimoto and Miriam Moeller

This paper examines how informal knowledge transfer processes unfold during the repatriation of Malaysian executives. The goal is to develop a repatriate knowledge transfer

Abstract

Purpose

This paper examines how informal knowledge transfer processes unfold during the repatriation of Malaysian executives. The goal is to develop a repatriate knowledge transfer process model, explaining the informal process through which repatriates make decisions about and transfer newly acquired knowledge.

Design/methodology/approach

Given the unexplored nature of the informal knowledge transfer process the study investigates, this research adopts an exploratory qualitative research approach using interview data from 10 Malaysian corporate executives over a period of 14 months, covering prerepatriation and postrepatriation stages.

Findings

The findings indicate that from the repatriates' perspectives, the process flows during repatriates' knowledge transfer depend on the ability and motivation of repatriates, as well as their opportunity to communicate the newly acquired knowledge to their home country organization. We likewise learned that the repatriates' ability to overcome repatriate adjustment and knowledge transfer challenges is crucial in order for them to proactively initiate informal knowledge transfer.

Practical implications

This research is significant as it will assist current and future expatriates to plan and prepare for repatriation and eventual knowledge transfer. The findings will also be useful to organizations that employ repatriates in preparing action plans for repatriation rather than solely focusing on expatriation.

Originality/value

Research and practice formally argue that expatriates are expected to transfer knowledge from the home country organization to the host country organization. While on assignment, expatriates become exposed to various types of new knowledge during the assignment, setting them up to disseminate this newly acquired knowledge to their home country organization upon repatriation – however, knowledge transfer upon repatriation is largely informal. This paper examines how this informal knowledge transfer process unfolds in the repatriation context over a period of 14 months by qualitatively tracing the experiences of 10 Malaysian corporate executives.

Details

Journal of Global Mobility: The Home of Expatriate Management Research, vol. 8 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-8799

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Article
Publication date: 18 March 2020

Xiaoqian Ye, Zequn Wang, Yi Zhang and Huifeng Li

This paper aims to explore the moderation effect of person-organization fit and perceived career and repatriation support on the relationship between knowledge governance…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the moderation effect of person-organization fit and perceived career and repatriation support on the relationship between knowledge governance and knowledge transfer intention of repatriates at multinational corporations.

Design/methodology/approach

Survey data were collected from 243 repatriates who had been contacted beforehand from MNCs in China. Hierarchical regression, AMOS, and PROCESS tools were used to examine the data.

Findings

The results revealed that the repatriate knowledge governance mechanism was positively related to repatriate knowledge transfer intentions. What's more, person-organization fit and perceived career and repatriation support significantly moderate the effect of knowledge governance mechanisms on repatriate knowledge transfer intention.

Originality/value

This is the initial empirical research on the influence of person-organization fit and perceived career and repatriation support on the relationship between knowledge governance and repatriate knowledge transfer; it may help readers understand the complex process and relationships associated with repatriate knowledge transfer, and the results may be useful for repatriate knowledge governance in multinational corporations.

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Article
Publication date: 13 July 2015

Anne Burmeister, Jürgen Deller, Joyce Osland, Betina Szkudlarek, Gary Oddou and Roger Blakeney

The purpose of this paper is to add a process perspective to the literature on repatriate knowledge transfer (RKT) and to understand how the knowledge transfer process…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to add a process perspective to the literature on repatriate knowledge transfer (RKT) and to understand how the knowledge transfer process unfolds in the repatriation context. Thus, this qualitative study uses existing knowledge transfer process models to assess their applicability to the context of repatriation and explain the micro-processes during RKT.

Design/methodology/approach

To provide a rich understanding of these processes from the repatriate perspective, critical incidents reported by 29 German and US American repatriates were content-analyzed.

Findings

The findings are summarized in a proposed RKT process model, which describes the roles and knowledge transfer-related activities of repatriates, recipients and supervisors as well as their interaction during four transfer phases: assessment, initiation, execution and evaluation.

Research limitations/implications

The experiences of repatriates from different geographic areas as well as the perspectives of knowledge recipients and supervisors were not studied but should be included in future research. In addition, future research could test the applicability of the identified micro-processes to different knowledge transfer contexts.

Practical implications

Managers can use the findings to facilitate the RKT process more effectively because the type of organizational support offered can be aligned with the changing needs of repatriates, recipients and supervisors during the four identified phases.

Originality/value

This is the first study that takes a process perspective to understand RKT. The integration of the current findings with the existing literature can enable a more nuanced view on RKT.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 19 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

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Article
Publication date: 14 March 2016

Anne Burmeister and Jürgen Deller

The purpose of this paper is to identify organizational support practices that facilitate repatriate knowledge transfer (RKT) in order to overcome the lack of strategic…

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1595

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify organizational support practices that facilitate repatriate knowledge transfer (RKT) in order to overcome the lack of strategic utilization of repatriate knowledge.

Design/methodology/approach

In Study 1, 134 repatriates responded to an online questionnaire and evaluated the organizational support that their organizations provided to facilitate RKT. In Study 2, 22 repatriates and human resource managers were interviewed. Interviewees were asked to assess to which extent the use of seven high-performance work practices – selection and staffing, training, career development, job design, performance appraisal, compensation and rewards, and internal communication – before, during, and after international assignments facilitated RKT. They also explained how these practices were implemented in their organizations.

Findings

The results of Study 1 showed that organizations primarily provide administrative repatriation support, while more strategic and knowledge transfer-related support is missing. Study 2 indicated that certain support practices are more important for the utilization of repatriate knowledge than others. Knowledge-related debriefing sessions after repatriation and targeted internal communication mechanisms were seen as important enablers of RKT. In contrast, selection and financial rewards were not seen as relevant facilitators of RKT.

Originality/value

Research on RKT reports that organizations still lack the right tools to harvest repatriate knowledge. This study indicates which organizational support practices appear to be most important for the facilitation of RKT, and provides some guidance regarding their implementation.

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Article
Publication date: 17 July 2009

Kerri Anne Crowne

The purpose of this paper is to expand the research in knowledge management, by specifically examining knowledge transfer among expatriates, repatriates and top management

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3463

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to expand the research in knowledge management, by specifically examining knowledge transfer among expatriates, repatriates and top management teams. The relationships posited here should aid multinational firms in increasing their international assignment return on investment.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on previous literature, a theoretical model of the anticipated impact of feedback seeking behaviors and social networks among international assignees and top management teams is presented.

Research limitations/implications

While this article expands the literature in knowledge transfer and encourages multinational enterprises to examine their knowledge management strategies among expatriate, repatriates and top management teams, the model presented is limited. It does not integrate some elements that may cause difficulties for expatriates and repatriates and hinder knowledge transfer.

Practical implications

Top management teams should take an active interest in increasing the knowledge transfer from expatriates and repatriates in the organization because of the expected positive impact it will have on global performance. In order to be more proactive, firms need to implement formal mechanisms, as well as encouraging informal mechanisms in order to transfer knowledge, which should aid the organization in such areas as their expatriation‐repatriation process and foreign subsidiary operations.

Originality/value

To date, no article has addressed how feedback‐seeking behaviors and social networks, together, can enhance knowledge transfer among expatriates, repatriates and Top Management Teams. Furthermore, evidence of effective knowledge transfer during international assignments is scant. Therefore this article fills a gap in the literature by expanding the research on knowledge management.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 13 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

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Article
Publication date: 9 September 2013

Ming-Chang Huang, Ya-Ping Chiu and Ting-Chun Lu

Several studies have explored the relationships among the multiple dimensions of knowledge governance mechanisms (KGMs) and knowledge sharing. However, knowledge

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3184

Abstract

Purpose

Several studies have explored the relationships among the multiple dimensions of knowledge governance mechanisms (KGMs) and knowledge sharing. However, knowledge governance issues and knowledge transfer processes remain under-researched. The empirical results of the relationships among KGMs, motivations to share knowledge and knowledge sharing behavior remain inconsistent. This paper aims at re-examining the mediating effects of knowledge sharing motivations and knowledge sharing opportunities on the relationship between KGMs and knowledge sharing behavior of repatriates at multinational corporations.

Design/methodology/approach

Survey data were collected from 140 repatriates from 66 multinational companies that operated in five different geographic locations. Structural equation modelling was used to assess the research model.

Findings

The empirical results indicate the mediating roles of knowledge sharing motivation and opportunity in the relationship between KGMs and the knowledge sharing behavior of repatriates. Two sets of KGMs – formal and informal mechanisms – have significant influence on knowledge sharing motivation and opportunity.

Research limitations/implications

This investigation focuses on the functions of KGMs that facilitate the knowledge sharing behavior of repatriates. The contextual effects of task-level, firm-level, and external environmental characteristics on knowledge sharing may need further studies to substantiate.

Originality/value

This study argues that even when employees are encouraged and rewarded by extrinsic and intrinsic motivations to share knowledge, effective knowledge sharing would not necessarily be guaranteed. This paper offers a conceptual framework where knowledge sharing motivations and opportunities simultaneously play the mediating roles in a successful knowledge sharing. The framework associates KGMs with knowledge sharing behavior and echoes the growing acknowledgement of the need for additional research on micro-foundations of knowledge sharing to complement the macro research.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 17 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

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Article
Publication date: 31 August 2012

Tania Nery‐Kjerfve and Gary N. McLean

The purpose of this paper is to present a review of the topic of repatriation and the potential benefits of the use of repatriated employees to enhance global knowledge

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5814

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a review of the topic of repatriation and the potential benefits of the use of repatriated employees to enhance global knowledge and organizational learning in multinational corporations.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper provides an integrative literature review of articles published on repatriation, knowledge transfer, and organization learning 1999‐2009.

Findings

The literature review revealed that repatriation is a growing field of study in international human resources, and must be addressed as a multidimensional phenomenon in order to capture a clear picture of the challenges and potential benefits resulting from repatriation.

Originality/value

This paper suggests practical measures to address repatriation and identify gaps for future research.

Details

European Journal of Training and Development, vol. 36 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-9012

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 17 August 2015

Reimara Valk, Mandy Van der Velde, Marloes Van Engen and Betina Szkudlarek

The purpose of this exploratory, empirical study is to gain insight into repatriation experiences and repatriate turnover intention of employees from India and The…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this exploratory, empirical study is to gain insight into repatriation experiences and repatriate turnover intention of employees from India and The Netherlands who either were or had been on international assignments in the respective countries.

Design/methodology/approach

Interviews were conducted with 25 Dutch and 30 Indian international assignees (IAs) and repatriates in both India and The Netherlands. Thematic analysis resulted in four themes: met and unmet expectations of career advancement opportunities; knowledge transfer and labour marketability; economic growth versus economic recession and alternative employment opportunities; and boundaryless careers: adventure and entrepreneurship.

Findings

Repatriate expectations about the use of knowledge, skills and abilities gained in the host country moderate the relationship between the macro-economic situation of the home country and repatriate attrition/retention, such that met expectations of Indian respondents decreased their intention to leave the organisation, even in a conducive macro-economic context with ample alternative employment opportunities. Unmet expectations of Dutch respondents increased their intention to leave the organisation, even in an unfavourable macro-economic context with few alternative employment opportunities.

Research limitations/implications

The sample of Indian and Dutch IAs and repatriates may limit generalisation of the findings to samples from other countries with distinct cultural contexts and macro-economic conditions.

Practical implications

Global organisations that set realistic expectations about re-entry career opportunities for repatriates, facilitate knowledge transfer after repatriation, and adequately respond to boundaryless career ambitions of repatriates, can reduce repatriate turnover intention and attrition.

Originality/value

This study shows that repatriate attrition versus retention is embedded in the macro-economic context of the home country, leading to three types of career mobility upon completion of an international assignment: intra-organisational mobility; organisational boundary-crossing; and geographical boundary crossing.

Details

Journal of Indian Business Research, vol. 7 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-4195

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Article
Publication date: 17 June 2021

Sharmila Jayasingam, Maggie Mei Kei Chong and Raida Abu Bakar

Organizations send their employees for international assignments so as to develop their international working experiences, their global knowledge and skills. These…

Abstract

Purpose

Organizations send their employees for international assignments so as to develop their international working experiences, their global knowledge and skills. These employees are then expected to return to their home countries (hereof known as repatriates) to share their newly gained knowledge or skills with their colleagues. This practice would benefit the organization's performance to some extent. Nonetheless, past literature had pointed out that many of such repatriates tend to leave their respective organizations as a result of not being able to fully utilize their newly acquired knowledge and skills, which led them to perceive that they were overqualified. This occurrence could lead to a loss of valuable knowledge for their organization. Aiming to address this issue at hand, the current study focuses on examining of the antecedents that could influence these repatriates' knowledge sharing behaviour.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses a research framework which was developed from three aspects of interest–perceived overqualification, affective commitment and the moderating effect of repatriation support practices on knowledge sharing behaviour of repatriates. Structural model analysis was carried out to assess 152 useable data which were collected from returning corporate repatriates in Malaysia. The SmartPLS 3.0 software was applied.

Findings

Repatriates with highly perceived overqualifications tend to exhibit low affective commitment. The impact of their perceived overqualification on knowledge sharing behaviour was fully mediated by their affective commitment. Repatriation support practice was found to strengthen the positive relationship between affective commitment and knowledge sharing behaviour.

Originality/value

The use of the relative deprivation theory showed that the outcome derived from this study could serve as an insight for organizations to understand how those repatriates' perception of overqualification influences their level of affective commitment, and subsequently, the extent to which they share knowledge upon returning.

Details

Journal of Global Mobility: The Home of Expatriate Management Research, vol. 9 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-8799

Keywords

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