Knowledge sharing in multinational corporations. A social capital perspective

  • Barner-Rasmussen, Wilhelm (Project manager, academic)

Project: Externally funded project

Project Details


Multinational corporations (MNCs) are commonly perceived as networks of differentiated units, dependent for their competitive edge on the sharing of different kinds of internal resources. This 'differentiated network' view of the MNC strongly emphasizes the crucial role of interunit knowledge sharing, the topic of this thesis. The five essays presented in the thesis contribute to the research on interunit knowledge sharing in MNCs by focusing on the roles played by language, identity, and feedback seeking in the knowledge sharing process. While these factors have occasionally been brought up in previous research as potentially relevant for interunit knowledge sharing, they have so far been subject to limited empirical examination - an important omission which the thesis is an effort to redress. Furthermore, the treatment of the topic is anchored in a theoretical framework based on social capital. This perspective contributes to MNC research by providing a comprehensive framework for examining the significance of social relationships in interunit interaction. The findings can be summarized in two main points. Firstly, language skills and shared identity appear to promote the accumulation of interunit social capital. Secondly, high levels of interunit social capital seem to promote interunit knowledge sharing and feedback seeking. These observation raise a number of both theoretical and practical issues of considerable relevance for MNC management.
Effective start/end date01.09.199911.04.2003


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