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Learning from foreign subsidiaries: An empirical investigation of headquarters' benefits from reverse knowledge transfers

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  • Ambos, Tina C.
  • Ambos, Björn
  • Schlegelmilch, Bodo B.
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    Abstract

    Within MNCs, the traditional role of headquarters as prime source of knowledge and competencies is changing. Increasingly, headquarters act as a receiver of knowledge from their internationally dispersed subsidiaries. But what drives the benefits headquarters can gain from such reverse knowledge transfers? Drawing on an empirical sample of 294 intra-MNC knowledge transfers, we identify the key variables impacting on headquarters' ability to benefit from reverse knowledge transfer. Taken collectively, our findings indicate that the efficiency of the MNC as a knowledge integrating institution is being driven by changes in both, the subsidiary's context and its capabilities to process knowledge. We discuss the implications of our analysis on the emerging knowledge based theory of the firm, draw out inferences for the strategic agenda of MNCs and suggest avenues for future research.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Business Review.

    Volume (Year): 15 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 3 (June)
    Pages: 294-312

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:iburev:v:15:y:2006:i:3:p:294-312

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    Related research

    Keywords: Reverse knowledge transfer Knowledge management Subsidiary headquarters relationship;

    References

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    Cited by:
    1. Edwards, Tony & Tempel, Anne, 2010. "Explaining variation in reverse diffusion of HR practices: Evidence from the German and British subsidiaries of American multinationals," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 19-28, January.
    2. Sandro Montresor & Antonio Vezzani, 2014. "On the R&D giants' shoulders: Do FDI help to stand on them?," JRC-IPTS Working Papers on Corporate R&D and Innovation 2014-01, Institute of Prospective Technological Studies, Joint Research Centre.
    3. Achcaoucaou, Fariza & Miravitlles, Paloma & León-Darder, Fidel, 2014. "Knowledge sharing and subsidiary R&D mandate development: A matter of dual embeddedness," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 76-90.
    4. Rabbiosi, Larissa & Santangelo, Grazia D., 2013. "Parent company benefits from reverse knowledge transfer: The role of the liability of newness in MNEs," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 160-170.
    5. Lamin, Anna & Dunlap, Denise, 2011. "Complex technological capabilities in emerging economy firms: The role of organizational relationships," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 211-228, September.
    6. Giroud, Axèle & Scott-Kennel, Joanna, 2009. "MNE linkages in international business: A framework for analysis," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 555-566, December.
    7. Jindra, Björn & Giroud, Axèle & Scott-Kennel, Joanna, 2009. "Subsidiary roles, vertical linkages and economic development: Lessons from transition economies," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 167-179, April.
    8. Spyros Arvanitis & Heinz Hollenstein, 2010. "How Do Different Motives for R&D Investment in Foreign Locations Affect Domestic Firm Performance? An Analysis Based on Swiss Panel Micro Data," KOF Working papers 10-258, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    9. Schleimer, Stephanie C. & Coote, Leonard V. & Riege, Andreas, 2014. "Headquarters to subsidiary transfer effects on marketing strategy exploitation," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 307-315.
    10. Hong, Jacky Fok Loi & Snell, Robin Stanley & Easterby-Smith, Mark, 2009. "Knowledge flow and boundary crossing at the periphery of a MNC," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 539-554, December.
    11. Smruti Ranjan Behera & Pami Dua & Bishwanath Goldar, 2012. "Foreign Direct Investment And Technology Spillover---Evidence Across Indian Manufacturing Industries," Working papers 207, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.
    12. Williams, Christopher & van Triest, Sander, 2009. "The impact of corporate and national cultures on decentralization in multinational corporations," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 156-167, April.
    13. Ambos, Tina C. & Ambos, Björn, 2009. "The impact of distance on knowledge transfer effectiveness in multinational corporations," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 1-14, March.
    14. Gold, Stefan & Hahn, Rüdiger & Seuring, Stefan, 2013. "Sustainable supply chain management in “Base of the Pyramid” food projects—A path to triple bottom line approaches for multinationals?," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 784-799.
    15. Drogendijk, Rian & Andersson, Ulf, 2013. "Relationship development in Greenfield expansions," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 381-391.
    16. Narula, Rajneesh, 2013. "Exploring the paradox of competence-creating subsidiaries: balancing bandwidth and dispersion in MNEs," MERIT Working Papers 046, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
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