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Global mobility of professionals and the transfer of tacit knowledge in multinational service firms

Global mobility of professionals and the transfer of tacit knowledge in multinational service firms The use of expatriates to transfer individual and organizational know-how and knowledge is a practice widely used by multinational enterprises (MNEs). However, for service firms, the mobility of employees across national borders depends on the commitments made by countries under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). In particular, the Mode 4 form of supply under GATS can limit the ability of professionals to enter a particular country and can restrict the intra-organizational transfer of knowledge in multinational service firms. The purpose of this paper is to investigate how MNEs attempt to overcome these barriers and transfer knowledge through their global network.Design/methodology/approachUsing Nonaka and Takeuchi’s SECI model of knowledge transfer, the authors study the intra-organizational knowledge transfer practices of an Indian multinational service firm. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 key informants involved with the organization.FindingsThe company uses global teams to transfer tacit knowledge and facilitates inpatriation through an internship program that helps the firm overcome nationality requirement that restricts the movement of their managers to other countries, which in turn limits their ability to transfer knowledge in the intra-organizational setting. The company uses the services of a not-for-profit youth organization that helps recruit interns for the program and also facilitates the relationship with the Indian Government, which provides support for this initiative by reducing barriers to entry for the interns.Originality/valueThis study takes the unique approach of studying barriers to movement of professionals and a firm’s strategic response. It identifies the pressures and barriers that companies face in the global economy and highlights the role of government agencies and other stakeholders in facilitating or restricting the transfer of knowledge within a firm’s international network. The paper articulates the implications for policy and practice, and a future research agenda. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Knowledge Management Emerald Publishing

Global mobility of professionals and the transfer of tacit knowledge in multinational service firms

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1367-3270
DOI
10.1108/jkm-09-2017-0399
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The use of expatriates to transfer individual and organizational know-how and knowledge is a practice widely used by multinational enterprises (MNEs). However, for service firms, the mobility of employees across national borders depends on the commitments made by countries under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). In particular, the Mode 4 form of supply under GATS can limit the ability of professionals to enter a particular country and can restrict the intra-organizational transfer of knowledge in multinational service firms. The purpose of this paper is to investigate how MNEs attempt to overcome these barriers and transfer knowledge through their global network.Design/methodology/approachUsing Nonaka and Takeuchi’s SECI model of knowledge transfer, the authors study the intra-organizational knowledge transfer practices of an Indian multinational service firm. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 key informants involved with the organization.FindingsThe company uses global teams to transfer tacit knowledge and facilitates inpatriation through an internship program that helps the firm overcome nationality requirement that restricts the movement of their managers to other countries, which in turn limits their ability to transfer knowledge in the intra-organizational setting. The company uses the services of a not-for-profit youth organization that helps recruit interns for the program and also facilitates the relationship with the Indian Government, which provides support for this initiative by reducing barriers to entry for the interns.Originality/valueThis study takes the unique approach of studying barriers to movement of professionals and a firm’s strategic response. It identifies the pressures and barriers that companies face in the global economy and highlights the role of government agencies and other stakeholders in facilitating or restricting the transfer of knowledge within a firm’s international network. The paper articulates the implications for policy and practice, and a future research agenda.

Journal

Journal of Knowledge ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: May 27, 2020

Keywords: Mobility; Knowledge transfer; Tacit knowledge; Services; Internship; Inpatriation

References