Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to discuss the phenomenon of knowledge transfer within multinational corporations (MNCs), and how the imperatives of thought and action that constitute new knowledge are received in the terrain that constitutes the MNC subsidiary. Design/methodology/approach – This study employs an ethnographic approach, and juxtaposes primary data collection with a variety of secondary data sources. Findings – The data are analyzed in light of the theoretical construct of hegemony, and three themes theorized that underlie the process of knowledge transfer. These include knowledge loss at the local level, the coercive practices that ensure knowledge transfer, and the invocation of imperial subjectivities by the headquarters of the MNC when dealing with subsidiaries from poorer nations. Originality/value – This paper goes beyond the mainstream approaches into organizational knowledge transfer, by analyzing these issues in light of political economy, and the changing landscape of industrial accumulation. It offers in some measure, the building blocks of a different organizational theory, one that is sensitive to those subjects who are consigned to the periphery of mainstream organizing.
critical perspectives on international business – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 2, 2008
Keywords: Multinational companies; Knowledge transfer; Organizational theory