Actions to overcome knowledge transfer barriers in MNCs

  • Riege A
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Purpose – This paper seeks to offer a comprehensive list of actions that help managers to prevail over numerous internal knowledge transfer barriers, an area that has received little attention thus far. Design/methodology/approach – Arguments draw upon theory in knowledge management and related fields and in-depth interviews with over 60 senior and middle managers in 20 Australian-based multinational corporations (MNCs). Findings – The approach established two main thrusts. First, the literature review has identified a wide range of knowledge transfer barriers that managers need to consider. However, there also is some confusion as to how to prevail over them. Second, based on the literature and fieldwork the paper highlights an extensive list of initiatives managers can employ to overcome numerous internal transfer barriers. Research limitations/implications – The number of respondents was sufficiently large to provide analytical generalisation. Whilst the paper provides a general guideline on how to overcome diverse barriers, there still is no conclusive empirical evidence based on a large-scale comparative study giving indication about the effectiveness of diverse managerial actions to enhance knowledge transfers in the internal and external supply chain. Practical implications – Senior and middle managers may utilise the provided list as an action identification tool when challenged to overcome diverse knowledge transfer barriers. Originality/ value – This paper highlights a large number of possible actions to overcome barriers to internal knowledge transfer. In particular, the action list serves as a starter or reassurance kit for managerial decision making when facing various barriers upon introducing, maintaining, or seeking to improve internal knowledge transfer practices. The aim, however, was no cookbook approach suggesting that a set of particular managerial actions will suit all firms, that is, specific actions are likely to show diverse levels of success and effectiveness.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Australia
  • Knowledge management
  • Knowledge transfer
  • Multinational companies

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  • Andreas Riege

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