Knowledge and Strategy Creation in Multinational Companies: Social-Identity Frames and Temporary Tension in Knowledge Combination

  • Regnér P
  • Zander U
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While a great deal of research on international business and management
has fruitfully focused on knowledge transfer, this paper investigates
knowledge creation; the process by which multinational companies (MNCs)
continuously combine and recombine knowledge in order to generate a
competitive advantage.
By integrating contemporary strategic management research into the field
of international business, we have developed a new perspective on
strategy and knowledge creation in MNCs, by elaborating on and extending
the knowledge-based view and other views of MNC strategy making. We
suggest that the agglomeration of a multitude of diverse social-identity
frames, nested inside a corporate centripetal frame, creates an arena in
which exploitable new knowledge can be created.
We propose that while a common corporate social-identity frame promotes
knowledge transfer, the diversity of various subgroups' social-identity
frames, in combination, with interaction and temporary tension between
them, advances knowledge creation. Although this partly involves a
serendipitous process, it promotes a systemic advantage for MNCs
compared to local firms, as regards knowledge exploration,
(re-)combination, and integration. This competitive advantage is firmly
rooted in hard-to-imitate complex social processes and may therefore be

Author-supplied keywords

  • Knowledge creation
  • Multinational companies
  • Social identity frames
  • Strategy

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  • Patrick Regnér

  • Udo Zander

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