Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to highlight challenges to the transfer of technologies which are caused by the internationalization of companies and the need to outsource production in a globalized business environment. Aside from typical methods of transfer by means of documents or equipment, technology is mainly brought forward by human resources, which in a transboundary context implies the interaction between cultures. However, a connection between culture and technology has, for a long time, been underestimated by practitioners and researchers and a fortiori necessitates the development of competences to facilitate collaboration in a more and more multicultural working environment. Design/methodology/approach – Data were retrieved from a semi‐structured questionnaire used in ten in‐depth interviews and exploited by discourse analysis. The survey questionnaire was the main instrument to support data collection in the interviews with at least one respective executive involved in cross‐border technology transfer in the Japanese sample companies. Findings – Contradicting the assumptions in Western literature, this study reveals that not only countries correlating on collectivism and masculinity but also more feminine countries can be considered as successful technology transfer partners. It is also substantiated that cultural closeness between countries does not imperatively result in frictionless technology transfer when analyzed from a cultural point of view. Practical implications – Survey results from a small‐sized exploratory study on Japanese companies and their experience in technology transfer processes within Asia provide information that will help managers to better understand the challenges in cross‐cultural transfer situations and to create a more effective transfer framework. Originality/value – This paper focuses on the combination of technology transfer processes and the need for cross‐cultural competence and hence fulfils an identified need to link technology transfer to culture.
Journal of Technology Management in China – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 10, 2012
Keywords: Japan; International business; Globalization; Outsourcing; National cultures; Knowledge management; Knowledge transfer; Technology management; Technology transfer; Culture
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