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Title: Mediating effects in reverse knowledge transfer processes : the case of knowledge-intensive services in the U.K.
Author: Najafi Tavani, Zhaleh
ISNI:       0000 0004 2693 5867
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2010
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Recent contributions highlight the importance of international knowledge transfer as a fundamental source of competitive advantage of MNCs. Due to the traditional assumption that parent firms are the prime source of knowledge, majority of studies have focused on knowledge transfer from headquarters to subsidiaries. However, the role of subsidiaries within MNCs has changed dramatically; many subsidiaries have gained a creative role by generating new resources depending on the comparative advantage of the location in which they operate, and through the process of reverse knowledge transfer, they subsequently contribute to the competence upgrading of the MNC. In reviewing the extant literature on MNC knowledge transfer and in particular reverse knowledge transfer, this research unleashes several gaps, notably in the understanding of factor affecting subsidiary knowledge development and reverse knowledge transfer within the service sector. Borrowing concepts from the knowledge-based and network views, a series of hypotheses were tested using the result of a web-based survey of the subsidiaries that were located in the UK, had a non-UK parent firm, and were active in the KIBS sector. Responses from 187 general managers, managing directors, or chief executives of subsidiaries confirm that those subsidiaries that develop and maintain business relationships with their internal (sister subsidiaries and headquarters) and external actors (customers, universities, suppliers, competitors) and have high level of autonomy are more capable of developing knowledge. With regards to determinants of reverse knowledge transfer, while subsidiary characteristics (knowledge development and willingness) and relationship characteristics (socialization mechanisms) are emerged as the main facilitators of reverse knowledge transfer, knowledge characteristics (tacitness and complexity) appeared as the main hindrances of this phenomenon. Moreover, the results indicate that, (a) socialisation mechanisms augment the extent of shared values and subsidiary-parent firm embeddedness and (b) willingness mediates the impacts of shared values and subsidiary-parent firm embeddedness on reverse knowledge transfer. The key contributions of this research are two-fold: firstly, it examines the process of reverse knowledge transfer and knowledge development exclusively within the KIBS sector. Secondly, it investigates the joint impacts of relationship characteristics, knowledge characteristics, and subsidiary (sender) characteristicson reverse knowledge transfer.
Supervisor: Giroud, Axele ; Ghauri, Pervez Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Reverse Knowledge Transfer, Knowledge development, ; Network view of the firm, Embeddedness