Subsidiary managers’ knowledge mobilizations: Unpacking emergent knowledge flows

Abstract : Knowledge flows are a key source of advantage for multinational corporations (MNCs). As research on subsidiary knowledge flows to date has mostly focused on organization-level investigations, often using quantitative methodologies, the nuances of knowledge flows practices and their micro-foundations require further theoretical development. Using detailed qualitative data on 40 cases of subsidiary managers' knowledge mobilizations, this paper unravels some of the micro-level practices of knowledge mobilizations in MNCs. We find that subsidiary manager's knowledge mobilization practices initiate a complex pattern of subsidiary knowledge inflows, pinpointing the significance of lateral and bottom up exchanges (locally as well as internationally) and the emergent nature of utilizing practices, specialist skills and expertise, as well as experience and advice to develop solutions. We use these insights to distinguish between two types of subsidiary knowledge flows: deliberate and emergent knowledge flows and highlight how their differences have profound implications for the investigation of subsidiary and MNC knowledge flows and their micro-foundations.
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Esther Tippmann, Pamela Sharkey Scott, Vincent Mangematin. Subsidiary managers’ knowledge mobilizations: Unpacking emergent knowledge flows. Journal of World Business, Elsevier, 2014, 49 (3), pp.431-444. ⟨10.1016/j.jwb.2013.09.001⟩. ⟨hal-00864324⟩

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