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Revisiting the external impact of MNCs: An empirical study of the mechanisms behind knowledge spillovers from MNC subsidiaries

  • Hallin, Christina
  • Holmström Lind, Christine
Registered author(s):

    The majority of studies of knowledge spillovers from the presence of multinational corporations (MNCs) have focused on whether or not, rather than how knowledge spillovers occur from MNC subsidiaries to local host country firms. Using survey data from 210 MNC subsidiaries in Sweden, a composite model is developed examining the impact of two different environmental conditions on the occurrence of knowledge spillovers arising from innovation transfer within MNCs. We distinguish between horizontal knowledge spillovers (i.e., to competitors) and vertical knowledge spillovers (i.e., to customers and suppliers), and emphasise the conceptually important distinction between the two. The former are largely unintentional by nature whereas the latter can be considered as intentional knowledge diffusion. The results show that competitive pressure in the recipient subsidiary's local environment gives rise to unintentional knowledge spillovers, whereas it is negatively related to intentional knowledge diffusion. The results also support the notion that the degree of embeddedness of in a subsidiary's business network in the host country is positively related to intentional knowledge diffusion. An important finding of the study is that there is a positive relationship between intentional knowledge diffusion and unintentional knowledge spillovers.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Business Review.

    Volume (Year): 21 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 167-179

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:iburev:v:21:y:2012:i:2:p:167-179
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