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Title: Motivation, culture and language in international knowledge transfer : Swedish multinational enterprises in China
Author: Fjellström, Daniella
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2011
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This research investigates the interplay between motivation, culture and language at the level of the individual to explain international knowledge transfer in the context of Sweden and China. I argue that the micro-foundation of firm success are best understood as an outcome of this tripartite relationship and underpin macro-level economic performance and the flow of foreign direct investment. The findings suggest that there is a bi-directional difference in how employees at headquarters, and employees in subsidiaries evaluate their own, and their counterparts' performance in affecting knowledge transfer. Intense competition causes Chinese employees to be extrinsically motivated. This makes them want to hold on to their knowledge (without sharing it) to increase their personal competitive advantage. In opposition to this, the organisational culture of the studied organisations acts to increase intrinsic motivation and, as a result, encourages knowledge transfer. Chinese employees have, in turn, adapted to these new conditions and have developed new communication patterns to share knowledge. While language skills are perceived as a barrier by expatriates, for Chinese employees and employees at the headquarters they are seen as a facilitator. The two studied cultures are different in many ways; nevertheless there are values each culture appreciates in the other that bring them closer together in their cross-cultural understanding, and this facilitates knowledge transfer. This study addresses gaps in research on knowledge transfer (I) of the poverty of understanding about middle management's role, (2) in the need for qualitative and multi-language research - by employing two dyadic relationships and five subsidiary cases; (3) regarding the influence of language, culture and motivation at the individual respondent level. The gaps have a common root: the overlooked centrality of the individual. The respondent is typically simply treated as a medium for gaining information on the unit or organisation, and therefore knowledge transfer is almost invariably studied only at aggregated levels
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available