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Managing Across Borders: The Transnational Solution

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Managing across Borders: New Organizational Responses
Christopher A Bartlett; Sumantra Ghosbal
Sloan Management Review (1986-1998); Fall 1987; 29, 1; ABI/INFORM Global
pg. 43
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
... Intra-company knowledge transfer has long been acknowledged as a key source of competitive advantage for multinational companies (MNCs) (Bartlett & Ghoshal, 1989;Gupta & Govindarajan, 2000;Kogut & Zander, 1993), and this knowledge is usually embedded in individuals (Argote, 1999;Nonaka, 1994). Thus, 'mobility of individuals' is a powerful mechanism for facilitating knowledge transfer in MNCs. ...
... Third, our study also contributes to the global strategy literature by suggesting successive inpatriation as a practical and effective process of intra-MNC knowledge transfer, through which a subsidiary can build its capabilities and evolve its role in the differentiated MNC network (Bartlett & Ghoshal, 1986;Ghoshal & Nohria, 1997). Subsidiaries are embedded both in their external local network and the internal MNC network (e.g., Ciabuschi, Holm, & Martin, 2014;Ryan, Giblin, Andersson, & Clancy, 2018), thereby enabling its access to varied knowledge (Bartlett & Ghoshal, 1989). In studies concerning vertical knowledge transfer between HQ and subsidiaries, most attention has been devoted to understanding determinants of knowledge transfer at one end of the transfer process, either for the source or the recipient (Michailova & Mustaffa, 2012). ...
Article
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Intra-company knowledge transfer is a key source of competitive advantage for multinational companies (MNCs) and this knowledge is usually embedded in individuals. Drawing on organizational knowledge creation theory, we explore how inpatriation contributes to knowledge transfer and, in turn, subsidiary performance. Inpatriation involves the international assignment of employees from an MNC’s foreign subsidiary to its headquarters. Despite increasing attention to the role of inpatriation, we lack a clear understanding of whether and how inpatriates provide value to their subsidiaries after returning from headquarters. Through a qualitative case study of Japanese MNCs, we demonstrate the process through which inpatriates’ knowledge transfer contributes to subsidiary capability building and subsidiary evolution over time, and explain why successive inpatriation is thus critical to enhance subsidiary performance. Our theoretical model highlights the value of inpatriates as knowledge agents, reveals the process through which inpatriates transfer knowledge between HQ and subsidiaries, and provides a more nuanced understanding of the micro-foundations of intra-MNC knowledge transfer processes. Based on these findings, we argue that inpatriation is not merely a staffing method that is complementary to expatriation, but a key practice in its own right to support subsidiaries’ growth and performance.
... MNE subsidiaries tend to have a variety of mandates including customer connection specifically for sales and marketing subsidiaries (Birkinshaw, 2016). MNEs with network structures have long acknowledged the crucial role of local subsidiaries as knowledge sources (Bartlett and Ghoshal, 2002) even though their performance is usually measured in terms of sales and profitability (Birkinshaw, 2016). Moreover, the ultimate strategic direction and apportion of support resources is often decided by MNE HQ. ...
Chapter
Absorptive capacity has been widely used in management and international business (IB) studies to explain the way organisations use external information to their benefit in commercial exchanges. This chapter attempts to extend the concept by applying it to the relationships between customer-subsidiary-headquarter (HQ) of multinational enterprises (MNEs), where the subsidiary acts as the focal unit for knowledge flows. We further use absorptive capacity concept to explain the knowledge inflows, in terms of new service development and knowledge outflows, leading to value creation. Based on in-depth theoretical discussions, we present propositions addressing the organisational and social dynamics in the four phases of absorptive capacity, from acquisition and assimilation, to transformation and exploitation.
... To internationalise auditing practice within the large accounting firms, it has been argued that the international organization usually has its internal governance structure and a carefully developed set of coordination mechanisms that guarantee the development and transfer of knowledge and services within the global organization (Bartlett and Ghoshal, 1989;Post, 1996). More specifically, Post (1996) has mentioned six coordination mechanisms, which are: "... standardization of norms, standardization of knowledge/skills, standardization of work processes, standardization of output, mutual adaptation, direct supervision ... etc" These mechanisms will lead to the standardization of audit work processes through the use of manuals, technical software, forms, questionnaires, checklists and directives with regards to client-file management, report classification and control procedures. ...
Thesis
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This thesis is concerned with the role of the international accounting firms in the process of auditing harmonisation both through their activities as individual firms and as agents whose actions enhance the degree of compliance with the International Standards on Auditing (ISAs). A major motivation underlying this research is the aspiration to understand the real potential for successful realization of the objective of worldwide auditing standards. This objective may be facilitated by the internationalisation of supply of auditing services, which suggests that the major international accounting firms would have a vital role in the achievability of global standards. Therefore, understanding the role of these firms is another motivation for this study. In addition, within the academic arena, comparative international auditing has received significantly less attention than international accounting hannonisation. As such, the third motivation for this study is to attempt to contribute to the debate on whether the internationalisation of auditing practices is generally feasible, in particular in the context of Less Economically Developed Countries (LEDCs). The research focuses on examining the extent to which ISAs are complied with in the context of LEDCs, and the influence of environmental factors, as suggested by comparative accounting research, and the activities of international accounting firms on compliance. Thus, the original idea of hannonisation as moving towards worldwide auditing practices across countries may not be achieved as long as environmental and cultural differences exist and exert different influences on professional development across countries. These research issues are addressed through a comparative study of Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, based on a questionnaire survey and interviews. The rationale for conducting this investigation is based on the fact these three states belong to what is generally perceived to be a relatively homogenous region in terms of the level of economic development, culture, and language. But they have been followed diverse routes while adapting to the process of internationalisation of auditing practice. Therefore, it is of relevance to examine the forces that have resulted in countries within a relatively homogenous region adopting diverse policies while dealing with the international process. The study adds to the few existing empirical studies and offers evidence relevant to the debate about the extent to which international auditing practice has been harmonised, and what is the role of the major accounting firms in promoting adoption of ISAs and decreasing international auditing differences. In particular it provides evidence which can contribute towards understanding the nature and forms of international pressures for change in LEDCs. Previous studies have focused on auditing harmonisation within developed countries. This study indicates the need to broaden the research agenda to consider contexts where the auditing profession may be at a different stage of development, and to challenge assumptions either that innovations in auditing practice and standards are easily transferred globally or that individual countries, even within a common region, have uniform auditing environments.
... be difficult or costly to acquire externally (Bartlett & Ghoshal, 1989;Hedlund, 1994;Kogut & Zander, 1993). Competences and expertise acquired by the MNE at home and elsewhere that are at the global industry technology frontier can help a focal subsidiary in countries behind the technology frontier to develop products and processes that outcompete those of local rivals (Criscuolo et al., 2010;Zeschky et al., 2014). ...
Article
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We examine the effect of R&D on foreign subsidiaries’ productivity performance. We argue that both local R&D expenditures in the subsidiary and R&D conducted in the wider network of the multinational enterprise (MNE) for the subsidiary improve productivity but that their respective roles depend on whether the host country of the subsidiary is at or below the global technology frontier. Local R&D is more effective if the host country is at the frontier, while R&D conducted in the MNE network is more effective if the host country is behind the frontier. In the latter case, both types of R&D are complementary and reinforce each other’s effect on productivity performance. We test hypotheses on fine-grained longitudinal micro data on affiliate productivity and R&D investments. We estimate dynamic productivity models controlling for endogeneity and allowing for declining returns to R&D and productivity convergence.
... GTM thus emerges as a multidisciplinary field of research while above all representing a strategic issue for internationalized companies for a series of different reasons: (i) there is growing recognition of the critical role performed by globally competent management whose talents ensure the success of the international operations of companies and corporations, reflecting the intensification of global competition and the greater need for learning and innovation in the multinational corporate sector (Bartlett & Ghoshal, 1989); (ii) the competition among employers for such talent has changed whether approached at the national, regional, or even at the global level (Ready & Conger, 2007;Sparrow, Brewster, & Harris, 2004;Stahl et al., 2007); (iii) the scarcity of management resources and professional talent emerges as the main challenge for the majority of large companies that engage in external markets (Bjorkman & Lervik, 2007); and (iv) the success or failure of international strategies directly interrelate with GTM (Cohn, Khurana, & Reeves, 2005;Stahl et al., 2007). ...
Article
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The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has brought terrifying effects for labor markets all around the world. Just as we witness rapid changes in terms of the ways of working (working from home), we are also observing an increase in unemployment. The ways in which major corporations with international operations process their global talent management (GTM) already represents a challenge in relatively stable times and clearly, in a period of such great and sustained turbulence as current experienced, this task becomes still more difficult. Hence, our research aims to study the impact of GTM on the international performance of major companies during the COVID-19 pandemic period. To this end, we surveyed a sample of 59 large companies that act in external markets. Through recourse to multiple linear regressions, we conclude that GTM practices return positive impacts on levels of international performance. Our research returns theoretical implications in terms of the application of integrated GTM models and with the results of significant relevance to corporations operating internationally, and thus enabling them to better understand which strategic human resource management policies will return the best GTM results.
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Ten years ago, Welch, Piekkari, Plakoyiannaki, and Paavilainen-Mäntymäki (2011) constructed a typology of theorizing from case studies based on the trade-off between causal explanation and contextualization. The typology consists of four methods of theorizing – interpretive sensemaking, contextualized explanation, inductive theory-building, and natural experiment. While Welch et al.’s work to enrich case study theorizing is commendable, the alleged trade-off between causal explanation and contextualization does not in fact exist and the classification dimension of causal explanation fails to reflect the actual practice of case researchers. I propose an alternative typology that includes theory development as a new dimension in place of causal explanation. The four revised methods of theorizing thus become interpretive sensemaking, contextualized explanation, identification of empirical regularities and theory building and testing. The alternative typology contributes to a more pluralistic methodological approach to guide case researchers.
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Chapter
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Chapter
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