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Using Multi-hub Structures for international R&D Organizational Inertia and the Challenges of Implementation

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  • Paola Criscuolo
  • Rajneesh Narula

Abstract

Over the last decade or so, multinational enterprises (MNEs) have shifted from centralised hub structures to multi-hub structures. While these new structures provide greater potential for crossfertilization of technologies and access to location-specific competences, promoting effective knowledge transfer within an MNE – especially in their R&D activities - presents significant managerial challenges. Using evidence collected on the R&D activities of MNEs in the pharmaceutical sector, this paper analyses the challenges associated with complexities of promoting and integrating knowledge flows in the face of inter-unit geographical, organizational and technological distance. MNEs are faced with organizational inertia that hinders efficient lateral communication and inter-unit knowledge transfer, and the evidence suggests that while socialization mechanisms help overcoming some of these bottlenecks, there remain a number of obstacles in optimising knowledge flows in physically and technologically dispersed R&D facilities

Suggested Citation

  • Paola Criscuolo & Rajneesh Narula, 2005. "Using Multi-hub Structures for international R&D Organizational Inertia and the Challenges of Implementation," DRUID Working Papers 05-13, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:aal:abbswp:05-13
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. TODO Yasuyuki & SHIMIZUTANI Satoshi, 2007. "Overseas R&D Activities and Home Productivity Growth: Evidence from Japanese Firm-Level Data," Discussion papers 07008, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    2. Dorra Yahiaoui & Hela Chebbi, 2008. "The limits of top-down transfers within a multinational corporation: the need for knowledge hybridization," Journal of Innovation Economics, De Boeck Université, vol. 0(2), pages 85-104.
    3. Narula R., 2013. "Exploring the paradox of competence‐creating subsidiaries : balancing bandwidth and dispersion in MNEs," MERIT Working Papers 046, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    4. Borje Johansson & Hans Loof, 2008. "Innovation Activities Explained By Firm Attributes And Location," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(6), pages 533-552.
    5. Vandana Ujjual & Parimal Patel & Rishikesha T. Krishnan & Srivardhini Keshavamurthy & RueyLin Hsiao & Frank Yan Zhao, 2011. "Management and Organisation of Knowledge Creation in Emerging Markets: a Perspective from subsidiaries of EU MNEs," SPRU Working Paper Series 192, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
    6. Narula, Rajneesh & Michel, Julie, 2009. "Reverse knowledge transfer and its implications for European policy," MERIT Working Papers 035, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    7. Fragiskos Archontakis & Nikos Varsakelis, 2011. "US patents abroad: Does gravity matter?," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 36(4), pages 404-416, August.
    8. Manolopoulos, Dimitris & Söderquist, Klas Eric & Pearce, Robert, 2011. "Coordinating decentralized research and development laboratories: A survey analysis," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 114-129, June.
    9. Suma Athreye & Martha Prevezer, 2008. "R&D offshoring and the domestic science base in India and China," Working Papers 26, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
    10. Rabbiosi, Larissa, 2011. "Subsidiary roles and reverse knowledge transfer: An investigation of the effects of coordination mechanisms," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 97-113, June.
    11. Keupp, Marcus Matthias & Gassmann, Oliver, 2009. "Why do transnational approaches to international innovation fail?," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 206-222, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Multinational enterprises; R&D; Geographical distance;

    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation

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