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Managing knowledge flows within and across the boundaries of the multinational corporation: an exploratory case study of a multinational weighing, measurement and automation technology provider

Herbst, Theresia (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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The multinational corporation (MNC) to a large extent, determines its sustainable economic success through the effective management of knowledge flows within and across its boundaries.
Based on the business network theory, the thesis applies a micro-perspective by drawing on an exploratory case study, which examines how a German-headquartered technology provider manages knowledge flows, which are reversed from its subsidiaries, and how these subsidiaries create their own knowledge depending on the specific external environments that they develop. The research interest was approached and operationalised by collecting and analysing qualitative data at two levels of analysis (these being at headquarters and subsidiary level).
Key results that emerged from the case study indicate that firstly, the MNC manages reverse knowledge flows in close relation with the ´technology differentiation` approach that the MNC developed as a response to increasing competitive pressures that it had faced in the 1990s. Secondly, the results suggest that the dynamics of economies, the case study especially focused on China in this respect, have an impact on product development. Thirdly, the results indicate that in addition to the external environment that subsidiaries develop, the senior local management of the subsidiaries plays an important role in motivating the employees to create new knowledge and learning capabilities and in discussing drivers of this motivation with the headquarters’ management.
Key words: Reverse Knowledge Flows, Business Network Theory, Knowledge Management, Multinational Corporations, Subsidiary

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Clark, Ian and Ramirez, Paulina
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:Birmingham Business School
Subjects:H Social Sciences (General)
HB Economic Theory
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:3185
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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