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A multilevel perspective on knowledge transfer: evidence from the Chinese automotive industry

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  • Zheng Jane Zhao
  • Jaideep Anand

Abstract

We adopt a multilevel perspective to study the transfer of collective and individual knowledge. By making a clear theoretical distinction between collective and individual attributes in concepts such as knowledge, teaching approach, and absorptive capacity, this study extends the knowledge transfer literature and provides fresh insights into the ways in which collective and individual knowledge are transferred. Based on a survey of the capability transfer activities of 161 engineering units of multinationals in the Chinese automotive industry, we empirically validate the distinction between individual and collective teaching activities and absorptive capacity. More importantly, we find that the largely underexplored collective‐level mechanisms, such as collective teaching and collective absorptive capacity, are more effective in transferring both collective knowledge and individual knowledge in comparison to their individual‐based counterparts. Our findings also have important implications for management of multinationals and international joint ventures, particularly in emerging economies. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Zheng Jane Zhao & Jaideep Anand, 2009. "A multilevel perspective on knowledge transfer: evidence from the Chinese automotive industry," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(9), pages 959-983, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:stratm:v:30:y:2009:i:9:p:959-983
    DOI: 10.1002/smj.780
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    2. Patrícia Lopes Costa & Ana Margarida Graça & Pedro Marques-Quinteiro & Catarina Marques Santos & António Caetano & Ana Margarida Passos, 2013. "Multilevel Research in the Field of Organizational Behavior," SAGE Open, , vol. 3(3), pages 21582440134, August.
    3. Yadong Luo & Huan Zhang & Juan Bu, 2019. "Developed country MNEs investing in developing economies: Progress and prospect," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 50(4), pages 633-667, June.
    4. Tzu-Hsin Liu & Yung-Chang Hsiao, 2019. "Fitting cooperative mode in inter-organizational strategic alliance: a perspective from innovative and financial performances," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 73-96, February.
    5. Pei Sun & Ziliang Deng & Mike Wright, 0. "Partnering with Leviathan: The politics of innovation in foreign-host-state joint ventures," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 0, pages 1-26.
    6. Ruey-Jer ‘Bryan’ Jean & Rudolf R. Sinkovics & Stefan Zagelmeyer, 2018. "Antecedents and Innovation Performance Implications of MNC Political Ties in the Chinese Automotive Supply Chain," Management International Review, Springer, vol. 58(6), pages 995-1026, December.
    7. Xing, Yijun & Liu, Yipeng & Lattemann, Christoph, 2020. "Institutional logics and social enterprises: Entry mode choices of foreign hospitals in China," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 55(5).
    8. H. Emre Yildiz & Adis Murtic & Udo Zander & Anders Richtnér, 2019. "What Fosters Individual-Level Absorptive Capacity in MNCs? An Extended Motivation–Ability–Opportunity Framework," Management International Review, Springer, vol. 59(1), pages 93-129, February.
    9. Tor Guimaraes & Ketan Paranjape & Mike Walton, 2019. "An Expanded Model of Success Factors for NPD Performance," International Journal of Innovation and Technology Management (IJITM), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 16(07), pages 1-29, November.
    10. Nicolai J. Foss & Torben Pedersen, 2019. "Microfoundations in international management research: The case of knowledge sharing in multinational corporations," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 50(9), pages 1594-1621, December.
    11. Raj Kumar Shukla & Dr. Sanjay R. Mali, 2015. "Planning Skills for Solar Supply Chain Management," Indian Journal of Commerce and Management Studies, Educational Research Multimedia & Publications,India, vol. 6(3), pages 53-57, September.
    12. Colombo, Massimo G. & Piva, Evila, 2020. "Start-ups launched by recent STEM university graduates: The impact of university education on entrepreneurial entry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(6).
    13. Mia Hsiao-Wen Ho & Pervez N. Ghauri & Mario Kafouros, 2019. "Knowledge Acquisition in International Strategic Alliances: The Role of Knowledge Ambiguity," Management International Review, Springer, vol. 59(3), pages 439-463, June.
    14. Kannan Srikanth & Anand Nandkumar & Deepa Mani & Prashant Kale, 2020. "How Firms Build Isolating Mechanisms for Knowledge: A Study in Offshore Research and Development Captives," Strategy Science, INFORMS, vol. 5(2), pages 98-116, June.
    15. Tor Guimaraes & Ketan Paranjape & Mike Cornick & Curtis P. Armstrong, 2018. "Empirically Testing Factors Increasing Manufacturing Product Innovation Success," International Journal of Innovation and Technology Management (IJITM), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 15(02), pages 1-26, April.

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