Knowledge transfer in international joint ventures : the case study of Bangkok Hospital's knowledge transfer to its Cambodian-based joint ventures
Despite the high interest and the surge of research on knowledge transfer in the past decade, it is surprising that most of the existing studies have not presented a framework that could provide a satisfactory explanation for how knowledge is transferred from one unit or one organisation to another and how it is remained within the recipient unit or the recipient organisation. Such unclear and vaguely explained concepts and frameworks for knowledge transfer have become a major limitation of the research in this area. In order to fill the knowledge gap, this study aims to build a more comprehensive knowledge transfer framework that covers the key concepts of both knowledge transfer and learning, including the related social mechanisms and cognitive factors generally involved in the dynamic process of knowledge transfer. It particularly explores how knowledge transfer actually occurs in the real-life international joint ventures and investigates factors affecting the transfer process, in a hope that the findings would offer the creation of new concepts and essential guidance on knowledge transfer that can be generalised to other cases where the same phenomenon exists. This research employs a qualitative methodological approach to enrich the developed theoretical framework for knowledge transfer. A multiple-case study methodology, with a replication procedure, is used since it can provide both in- depth insights and compelling evidence. The cases selected include two Cambodian-based IJVs with the same Thai parent. Both cases are operating in the healthcare business, which is considered one of the most knowledge-intensive industries. The data for this study is collected through multiple methods of data collection, including in-depth interviews, documentation; and direct observation. The main findings of this study show general support for the developed framework and proposed propositions. They suggest that foreign parent's knowledge is transferred to the IJVs through the interaction between the sources and the recipients of knowledge. In addition, such transferred knowledge is shared in the organizational through a prolonged social interaction between direct recipients and other organisational members and is eventually institutionalised in the organisation if the organisational members continuously utilise the transferred knowledge. Moreover, the findings also reveal that the characteristics of knowledge, actors, and context can have an effect on the different phases of knowledge transfer.