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On the different “worlds” of intra-organizational knowledge management: Understanding idiosyncratic variation in MNC cross-site knowledge-sharing practices

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  • Kasper, Helmut
  • Lehrer, Mark
  • Mühlbacher, Jürgen
  • Müller, Barbara

Abstract

This qualitative field study investigated cross-site knowledge sharing in a small sample of multinational corporations in three different MNC business contexts (global, multidomestic, transnational). The results disclose heterogeneous “worlds” of MNC knowledge sharing, ultimately raising the question as to whether the whole concept of MNC knowledge sharing covers a sufficiently unitary phenomenon to be meaningful. We derive a non-exhaustive typology of MNC knowledge-sharing practices: self-organizing knowledge sharing, technocratic knowledge sharing, and best practice knowledge sharing. Despite its limitations, this typology helps to elucidate a number of issues, including the latent conflict between two disparate theories of MNC knowledge sharing, namely “sender–receiver” and “social learning” theories (Noorderhaven & Harzing, 2009). More generally, we develop the term “knowledge contextualization” to highlight the way that firm-specific organizational features pre-define which knowledge is considered to be of special relevance for intra-organizational sharing.

Suggested Citation

  • Kasper, Helmut & Lehrer, Mark & Mühlbacher, Jürgen & Müller, Barbara, 2013. "On the different “worlds” of intra-organizational knowledge management: Understanding idiosyncratic variation in MNC cross-site knowledge-sharing practices," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 326-338.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:iburev:v:22:y:2013:i:1:p:326-338
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ibusrev.2012.05.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Mabey, Christopher & Nicholds, Alyson, 2015. "Discourses of knowledge across global networks: What can be learnt about knowledge leadership from the ATLAS collaboration?," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 43-54.
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