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Pathways of Relevance: Exploring Inflows of Knowledge into Subunits of Multinational Corporations

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  • Martin Schulz

    () (Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia, 2053 Main Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z2, Canada)

Abstract

To understand what determines knowledge flows into organizational subunits, the study reported here examines the relevance of the knowledge to the operations performed at the receiving subunit. This study analyzes inflows of knowledge from peers and supervising units into subunits of multinational corporations. It examines factors that affect the relevance of extra-unit knowledge to receiving subunits and explores empirically how these factors affect knowledge flows. The results show that knowledge travels along established ties from large knowledge bases into unspecialized, codified, locally responsive knowledge bases. The results are consistent with the view that relevance provides pathways through which new knowledge connects to prior knowledge.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Schulz, 2003. "Pathways of Relevance: Exploring Inflows of Knowledge into Subunits of Multinational Corporations," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 14(4), pages 440-459, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ororsc:v:14:y:2003:i:4:p:440-459
    DOI: 10.1287/orsc.14.4.440.17483
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/orsc.14.4.440.17483
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fu, Xiaolan & Sun, Zhongjuan & Ghauri, Pervez N., 2018. "Reverse knowledge acquisition in emerging market MNEs: The experiences of Huawei and ZTE," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 202-215.
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    4. 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.
    5. Qin Yang, 2018. "Geographical Diversity of Alliance Portfolio and Firm Innovation: The Roles of Resource Characteristics and Governance Structures," International Journal of Innovation and Technology Management (IJITM), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 15(06), pages 1-22, December.
    6. Stephen Chen & Ronald Geluykens & Chong Ju Choi, 2006. "The importance of language in global teams: A linguistic perspective," Management International Review, Springer, vol. 46(6), pages 679-696, December.
    7. Lin Cui & Yi Li & Klaus E. Meyer & Zijie Li, 2015. "Leadership Experience Meets Ownership Structure: Returnee Managers and Internationalization of Emerging Economy Firms," Management International Review, Springer, vol. 55(3), pages 355-387, June.
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    12. Primiano Nauta & Biagio Merola & Francesco Caputo & Federica Evangelista, 2018. "Reflections on the Role of University to Face the Challenges of Knowledge Society for the Local Economic Development," Journal of the Knowledge Economy, Springer;Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET), vol. 9(1), pages 180-198, March.
    13. L. Felipe Monteiro & Niklas Arvidsson & Julian Birkinshaw, 2008. "Knowledge Flows Within Multinational Corporations: Explaining Subsidiary Isolation and Its Performance Implications," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 19(1), pages 90-107, February.
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    16. Klaus E. Meyer & Chengguang Li & Andreas P. J. Schotter, 2020. "Managing the MNE subsidiary: Advancing a multi-level and dynamic research agenda," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 51(4), pages 538-576, June.
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    22. Cher-Hung Tseng, 2015. "Determinants of MNC’s Knowledge Inflows to Subsidiaries: A Perspective on Internalization Advantages," Management International Review, Springer, vol. 55(1), pages 119-150, February.
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    24. Mo Yamin & Hsin-Ju ‘Stephie’ Tsai & Ulf Holm, 2011. "The Performance Effects of Headquarters’ Involvement in Lateral Innovation Transfers in Multinational Corporations," Management International Review, Springer, vol. 51(2), pages 157-177, April.

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