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Knowledge Accumulation and Dissemination in MNEs: A Practice‐Based Framework


  • Stephen Tallman
  • Aya S. Chacar


This paper proposes that the mechanisms of external knowledge capture and internal knowledge transfer can best be understood at the micro‐organizational level of Communities of Practice (CoPs) rather than at that of the subsidiaries' network. The paper then offers a model of the dynamics of organizational learning in network organizations, such as MNEs, which builds on this unit of analysis. This model: (i) clarifies the link between CoPs and Networks of Practice (NoPs), by offering a novel conceptual model of how knowledge, particularly tacit, embedded knowledge, is absorbed; and (ii) proposes a new link – that between CoPs and Internal Networks of Practice (INoPs), as another essential ingredient to knowledge accumulation and transfer within firms. We also propose that the firm‐level architectural knowledge that is developed through INoPs is valuable and rare, and in combination with the component knowledge developed through NoPs, can create novel knowledge that may be a source of competitive advantage.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Tallman & Aya S. Chacar, 2011. "Knowledge Accumulation and Dissemination in MNEs: A Practice‐Based Framework," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(2), pages 278-304, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:48:y:2011:i:2:p:278-304
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-6486.2010.00971.x

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