IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Liability of foreignness as a barrier to knowledge spillovers: Lost in translation?

  • Schmidt, Tobias
  • Sofka, Wolfgang

Multinational corporations (MNC) search increasingly for lead market knowledge and technological expertise around the globe. We investigate whether their subsidiaries gain access to these valuable sources of host country knowledge to the same degree as domestic rivals. We develop a theoretical framework for "why" and "how" a lack of embeddedness and legitimacy (liability of foreignness) may translate into additional obstacles for foreign subsidiaries. We test these hypotheses empirically using a broad dataset of more than 1100 firms in Germany. We find that MNCs can compete on an equal footing with host country competitors when it comes to generating impulses for innovations from universities. They are significantly challenged by liabilities of foreignness, though, when host country customers are involved. The disadvantages are especially pronounced when the host country industry is at the technological forefront. We suggest that the disadvantages arising from liability of foreignness in the host country are especially relevant when promising lead customers have to be identified and their tacit and often unarticulated impulses have to be transferred, understood and prioritized. Management recommendations are developed on the basis of these results.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S107542530900074X
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

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

Volume (Year): 15 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 460-474

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:intman:v:15:y:2009:i:4:p:460-474
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/601266/description#description

Order Information: Postal: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/601266/bibliographic
Web: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/601266/bibliographic

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg & Rebecca Henderson, 1992. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," NBER Working Papers 3993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Michael D Lord & Annette L Ranft, 2000. "Organizational Learning About New International Markets: Exploring the Internal Transfer of Local Market Knowledge," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 31(4), pages 573-589, December.
  3. Irwin, Douglas A & Klenow, Peter J, 1994. "Learning-by-Doing Spillovers in the Semiconductor Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1200-1227, December.
  4. Chiara Criscuolo & Jonathan E. Haskel & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2005. "Global Engagement and the Innovation Activities of Firms," NBER Working Papers 11479, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Robin Cowan & Paul A. David & Dominique Foray, 1999. "The Explicit Economics of Knowledge Codification and Tacitness," Working Papers 99027, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  6. Srilata Zaheer & Akbar Zaheer, 1997. "Country Effects on Information Seeking in Global Electronic Networks," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 28(1), pages 77-100, March.
  7. Paul M Romer, 1999. "Endogenous Technological Change," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2135, David K. Levine.
  8. Caves, Richard E, 1971. "International Corporations: The Industrial Economics of Foreign Investment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 38(149), pages 1-27, February.
  9. Keller, Wolfgang, 2002. "International Technology Diffusion," CEPR Discussion Papers 3133, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," NBER Chapters, in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 287-343 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Schmidt, Tobias, 2005. "Absorptive Capacity: One Size Fits All? Firm-level Analysis of Absorptive Capacity for Different Kinds of Knowledge," ZEW Discussion Papers 05-72, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  12. Hennart, Jean-François & Roehl, Thomas & Zeng, Ming, 2002. "Do exits proxy a liability of foreignness?: The case of Japanese exits from the US," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 241-264.
  13. Mike Bartholomaei, 2005. "To Know is to Be: Three Perspectives on the Codification of Knowledge," SPRU Working Paper Series 131, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
  14. William Newburry & Naomi A Gardberg & Liuba Y Belkin, 2006. "Organizational attractiveness is in the eye of the beholder: the interaction of demographic characteristics with foreignness," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 37(5), pages 666-686, September.
  15. Sendhil Mullainathan & Marianne Bertrand, 2001. "Do People Mean What They Say? Implications for Subjective Survey Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 67-72, May.
  16. Bruce Kogut & Udo Zander, 1993. "Knowledge of the Firm and the Evolutionary Theory of the Multinational Corporation," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 24(4), pages 625-645, December.
  17. Kaiser, Ulrich, 2002. "An empirical test of models explaining research expenditures and research cooperation: evidence for the German service sector," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(6), pages 747-774, June.
  18. repec:fth:harver:1473 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Kaiser, Ulrich, 2002. "Measuring knowledge spillovers in manufacturing and services: an empirical assessment of alternative approaches," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 125-144, January.
  20. Paul Almeida & Bruce Kogut, 1999. "Localization of Knowledge and the Mobility of Engineers in Regional Networks," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(7), pages 905-917, July.
  21. Robert Jensen & Gabriel Szulanski, 2004. "Stickiness and the adaptation of organizational practices in cross-border knowledge transfers," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 35(6), pages 508-523, November.
  22. Zaheer, Srilata, 2002. "The liability of foreignness, redux: a commentary," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 351-358.
  23. Mezias, John M., 2002. "How to identify liabilities of foreignness and assess their effects on multinational corporations," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 265-282.
  24. DeYoung, Robert & Nolle, Daniel E, 1996. "Foreign-Owned Banks in the United States: Earning Market Share or Buying It?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(4), pages 622-36, November.
  25. Warren J Bilkey & Erik Nes, 1982. "Country-of-Origin Effects on Product Evaluations," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 13(1), pages 89-100, March.
  26. Keilbach, Max & Bönte, Werner, 2004. "Concubinage or Marriage? Informal and Formal Cooperations for Innovation," ZEW Discussion Papers 04-11, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  27. Mahmood, Ishtiaq P. & Singh, Jasjit, 2003. "Technological dynamism in Asia," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1031-1054, June.
  28. Laursen, Keld & Salter, Ammon, 2004. "Searching high and low: what types of firms use universities as a source of innovation?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 1201-1215, October.
  29. Sofka, Wolfgang & Zimmermann, Jörg, 2008. "Regional economic stress as moderator of liability of foreignness," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 155-172, June.
  30. Anders Malmberg & Peter Maskell, 2005. "Localized Learning Revisited," DRUID Working Papers 05-19, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  31. Geuna, Aldo & Anthony Arundel, 2003. "Proximity and the Use of Public Science by Innovate European Firms," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 86, Royal Economic Society.
  32. Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg, 1998. "International Knowledge Flows: Evidence from Patent Citations," NBER Working Papers 6507, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  33. Douglas Dow, 2006. "Adaptation and performance in foreign markets: evidence of systematic under-adaptation," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 37(2), pages 212-226, March.
  34. Ron Boschma, 2005. "Proximity and Innovation: A Critical Assessment," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(1), pages 61-74.
  35. Furman, Jeffrey L. & Hayes, Richard, 2004. "Catching up or standing still?: National innovative productivity among 'follower' countries, 1978-1999," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(9), pages 1329-1354, November.
  36. Christian Geisler Asmussen & Torben Pedersen & Charles Dhanaraj, 2009. "Host-country environment and subsidiary competence: Extending the diamond network model," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 40(1), pages 42-57, January.
  37. Miller, Stewart R. & Richards, Malika, 2002. "Liability of foreignness and membership in a regional economic group: Analysis of the European Union," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 323-337.
  38. Szulanski, Gabriel, 2000. "The Process of Knowledge Transfer: A Diachronic Analysis of Stickiness," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 9-27, May.
  39. Harvey, Michael & Novicevic, Milorad M., 2000. "Staffing global marketing positions: What we don't know can make a difference," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 80-94, April.
  40. Robert Salomon & Byungchae Jin, 2008. "Does knowledge spill to leaders or laggards? Exploring industry heterogeneity in learning by exporting," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 39(1), pages 132-150, January.
  41. Breschi, Stefano & Malerba, Franco & Orsenigo, Luigi, 2000. "Technological Regimes and Schumpeterian Patterns of Innovation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(463), pages 388-410, April.
  42. Branstetter, Lee G., 2001. "Are knowledge spillovers international or intranational in scope?: Microeconometric evidence from the U.S. and Japan," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 53-79, February.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:intman:v:15:y:2009:i:4:p:460-474. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.