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The Tacit Knowledge Problem in Multinational Corporations: Japanese and US Offshore Knowledge Incubators

  • Lam, Alice

This paper examines the ‘cognitive’ and ‘societal’ aspects of the tacit knowledge transfer problem in MNCs. Based on a comparative analysis of the overseas R&D labs of US and Japanese MNCs in the UK, it examines how home-based models of learning influence MNCs’ transnational social spaces for learning and their capabilities to address the tacit knowing problem. It illustrates how the US professional ‘networks of practice’ (NoP) and the Japanese organizational ‘communities of practice’ (CoP) approaches to transnational learning unfold in practice. It also examines how divergence between home and host country institutions governing knowledge production inhibits cross-societal tacit knowing.

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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/11487/1/MPRA_paper_11487.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 11487.

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Date of creation: Aug 2008
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:11487
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  1. 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.
  2. Pauly, Louis W. & Reich, Simon, 1997. "National structures and multinational corporate behavior: enduring differences in the age of globalization," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(01), pages 1-30, December.
  3. Meric S. Gertler, 2003. "Tacit knowledge and the economic geography of context, or The undefinable tacitness of being (there)," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(1), pages 75-99, January.
  4. Odagiri, Hiroyuki & Goto, Akira, 1996. "Technology and Industrial Development in Japan: Building Capabilities by Learning, Innovation and Public Policy," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288022.
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  7. X Martin & R Salomon, 2003. "Knowledge transfer capacity and its implications for the theory of the multinational corporation," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 34(4), pages 356-373, July.
  8. Walter Kuemmerle, 1999. "The Drivers of Foreign Direct Investment into Research and Development: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 30(1), pages 1-24, March.
  9. Richard Whitley, 2002. "Developing innovative competences: the role of institutional frameworks," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(3), pages 497-528, June.
  10. Asakawa, Kazuhiro, 2001. "Organizational tension in international R&D management: the case of Japanese firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 735-757, May.
  11. Masaaki Kotabe & Denise Dunlap-Hinkler & Ronaldo Parente & Harsh A Mishra, 2007. "Determinants of cross-national knowledge transfer and its effect on firm innovation," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 38(2), pages 259-282, March.
  12. Gassmann, Oliver & von Zedtwitz, Maximilian, 1999. "New concepts and trends in international R&D organization," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(2-3), pages 231-250, March.
  13. Zanfei, Antonello, 2000. "Transnational Firms and the Changing Organisation of Innovative Activities," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(5), pages 515-42, September.
  14. Lam, Alice & Lundvall, Bengt-Aake, 2007. "The Learning Organisation and National Systems of Competence Building and Innovation," MPRA Paper 12320, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  15. Amin, Ash & Roberts, Joanne, 2008. "Knowing in action: Beyond communities of practice," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 353-369, March.
  16. Hall, Peter A. & Soskice, David (ed.), 2001. "Varieties of Capitalism: The Institutional Foundations of Comparative Advantage," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199247752.
  17. Kuemmerle, Walter, 1999. "Foreign direct investment in industrial research in the pharmaceutical and electronics industries--results from a survey of multinational firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(2-3), pages 179-193, March.
  18. Meyer-Krahmer, Frieder & Reger, Guido, 1999. "New perspectives on the innovation strategies of multinational enterprises: lessons for technology policy in Europe," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(7), pages 751-776, September.
  19. Cantwell, John, 1995. "The Globalisation of Technology: What Remains of the Product Cycle Model?," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 155-74, February.
  20. Kneller, Robert, 2003. "Autarkic drug discovery in Japanese pharmaceutical companies: insights into national differences in industrial innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(10), pages 1805-1827, December.
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