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The MNC as a Knowledge Structure The Roles of Knowledge Sources and Organizational Instruments in MNC Knowledge Management

Listed author(s):
  • Nicolai J. Foss
  • Torben Pedersen

Recent research on the differentiated MNC has concerned knowledge flows between MNC units. While linking up with this literature, we extend in two directions. First, we argue that conceptualizing the MNC as a knowledge structure furthers the understanding of intra-MNC knowledge flows. Thus, we see MNC knowledge elements as being structured along such dimensions as their type and degree of complementarity to other knowledge elements, and their sources, for example, whether they are mainly developed from external or internal knowledge sources. These dimensions matter in terms of knowledge flows, because they influence the costs and benefits of knowledge transfer and, hence, the actual level of knowledge transferred. Second, based on this conceptualization, we argue that MNC management can influence the development, characteristics and transfer of knowledge through choices regarding organizational instruments (control, motivation and context). We test six hypotheses derived from these arguments against a unique dataset on subsidiary knowledge development. The dataset includes information on organizational instruments, sources of subsidiary knowledge, and the extent of knowledge transfer to other MNC units. It covers more than 2,000 subsidiaries located in seven different European countries.

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File URL: http://www3.druid.dk/wp/20030009.pdf
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Paper provided by DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies in its series DRUID Working Papers with number 03-09.

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Date of creation: 2003
Handle: RePEc:aal:abbswp:03-09
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.druid.dk/

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  1. Julian Birkinshaw, 1996. "How Multinational Subsidiary Mandates are Gained and Lost," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 27(3), pages 467-495, September.
  2. Kendall Roth & Allen J Morrison, 1992. "Implementing Global Strategy: Characteristics of Global Subsidiary Mandates," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 23(4), pages 715-735, December.
  3. repec:ner:ucllon:http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/17678/ is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Michael C. Jensen & William H. Heckling, 1995. "Specific And General Knowledge, And Organizational Structure," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 8(2), pages 4-18.
  5. Philippe Aghion & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Normal and Real Authority in Organizations," Working papers 94-13, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. Bruce Kogut & Udo Zander, 1993. "Knowledge of the Firm and the Evolutionary Theory of the Multinational Corporation," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 24(4), pages 625-645, December.
  7. Holm, Ulf & Pedersen, Torben, 2000. "The Dilemma Of Centres Of Excellence - Contextual Creation Of Knowledge Versus Global Transfer Of Knowledge," Working Papers 8-2000, Copenhagen Business School, Department of International Economics and Management.
  8. Sumantra Ghoshal & Harry Korine & Gabriel Szulanski, 1994. "Interunit Communication in Multinational Corporations," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 40(1), pages 96-110, January.
  9. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "The Economics of Modern Manufacturing: Technology, Strategy, and Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 511-528, June.
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