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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Lam, Alice, 2008. "The Tacit Knowledge Problem in Multinational Corporations: Japanese and US Offshore Knowledge Incubators," MPRA Paper 11487, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:11487

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    comparative thinking; tacit knowledge; knowledge transfer in MNCs; innovation and R&D; organizational learning; communities of practice;

    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

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