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Critical context and international intrafirm best-practice transfers

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  • Dinur, Adva
  • Hamilton III, Robert D.
  • Inkpen, Andrew C.
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    Abstract

    The sharing and transfer of knowledge and best practices across the organization have long been recognized as a critical driver of a firm's capabilities and performance. In fact, Gupta and Govindarajan (1991) maintained that MNCs exist primarily because of their superior ability to transfer knowledge internally relative to the ability of markets. This paper examines factors that influence the success of intrafirm, cross-border knowledge transfers. We investigate the critical context similarity between best-practice source and recipient units and the impact of critical context similarity on transfer eventfulness. We argue that best practices are embedded within a set of 5 central contextual elements, which are critical to the firm's ability to utilize them. A model is developed and tested that explains the impact of context in enabling or inhibiting best-practice transfers. Our findings suggest that critical context dissimilarity inhibits best-practice transfers. The impact of congruence among the source and recipient units along the dimensions of culture, strategy, decision-making, environment and technology affects the eventfulness of the transfer in terms of time, budget and satisfaction. Additionally, the effect of the fit between the practice characteristics, and the transfer mechanisms employed, is examined.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Management.

    Volume (Year): 15 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 432-446

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:intman:v:15:y:2009:i:4:p:432-446

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    Related research

    Keywords: Knowledge transfer Context Best-practice Knowledge management;

    References

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    1. Eric von Hippel, 1994. ""Sticky Information" and the Locus of Problem Solving: Implications for Innovation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 40(4), pages 429-439, April.
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    11. Linda Argote & Bill McEvily & Ray Reagans, 2003. "Managing Knowledge in Organizations: An Integrative Framework and Review of Emerging Themes," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(4), pages 571-582, April.
    12. Jansen, J.J.P. & van den Bosch, F.A.J. & Volberda, H.W., 2005. "Managing Potential and Realized Absorptive Capacity: How do Organizational Antecedents matter?," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2005-025-STR, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus Uni.
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