MNC knowledge transfer, subsidiary absorptive capacity, and HRM

Abstract

Based on a sample of 169 subsidiaries of multinational corporations (MNCs) operating in the USA, Russia, and Finland, this paper investigates the relationship between MNC subsidiary human resource management (HRM) practices, absorptive capacity, and knowledge transfer. First, we examine the relationship between the application of specific HRM practices and the level of the absorptive capacity. Second, we suggest that absorptive capacity should be conceptualized as being comprised of both employees' ability and motivation. Further, results indicate that both ability and motivation (absorptive capacity) are needed to facilitate the transfer of knowledge from other parts of the MNC.

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Acknowledgements

We thank editor Catherine Langlois, three reviewers, participants at the Nordic-IB Workshop, the AIB Meeting in San Juan, and the AOM-meeting in Denver for comments on an earlier version of this paper, as well as the Academy of Finland and the Swedish Research Council for financial support of this study.

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Correspondence to T Pedersen.

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Accepted by Thomas Brewer; outgoing Editor, 20 December 2002.

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Minbaeva, D., Pedersen, T., Björkman, I. et al. MNC knowledge transfer, subsidiary absorptive capacity, and HRM. J Int Bus Stud 34, 586–599 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.jibs.8400056

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Keywords

  • knowledge transfer
  • absorptive capacity
  • HRM