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Knowledge transfer in international asymmetric alliances: the key role of translation, artifacts, and proximity

Abstract : Purpose The purpose of this paper is to analyze the issue of knowledge transfer in the context of international asymmetric alliances. The objective is mainly to identify the barriers that can impede the knowledge transfer between asymmetric partners and to analyze the solutions adopted to overcome these barriers. Design/methodology/approach The authors use a qualitative study involving six cases of asymmetric alliances between Tunisian small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) and European multinational corporations (MNCs). Findings The results of this research highlight a set of obstacles related to the context of asymmetric alliance itself and the nature of knowledge transferred by partners. The study emphasizes the importance of translation using artefacts by both partners and proximity with its geographical, organizational and technological dimensions to overcome these obstacles. Research limitations/implications The investigation of knowledge transfer in asymmetric alliances was based on the role played by only three proximity dimensions (geographical, organizational and technological), while other factors, such as institutional, social and cultural issues, were not considered. Indeed, future research may take these variables into account in studying solutions to overcome knowledge-transfer barriers in asymmetric alliances. Practical implications The paper calls the attention of asymmetric alliance managers to the importance of translation to perform work processes, facilitate knowledge transfer and overcome linguistic barriers. Managers should use virtual artefacts to reduce the constraints resulting from their geographical remoteness and to strengthen cooperation. Further, reinforcing geographical, organizational and technological proximity between partners involved in an international alliance is essential to facilitate knowledge transfer, essentially of tacit knowledge, and to accelerate innovation. Originality/value This study emphasizes the importance of the simultaneous role of artefacts, translation and proximity in overcoming obstacles related to the asymmetric alliance itself and the nature of knowledge transferred by partners. The results shed light on the issue of knowledge generation in asymmetric alliances.
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https://hal-cnam.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02370600
Contributor : Fadia BAHRI KORBI Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Tuesday, November 19, 2019 - 2:54:29 PM
Last modification on : Friday, November 4, 2022 - 3:58:25 AM

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Fadia Bahri Korbi, Mourad Chouki. Knowledge transfer in international asymmetric alliances: the key role of translation, artifacts, and proximity. Journal of Knowledge Management, 2017, 21 (5), pp.1272-1291. ⟨10.1108/JKM-11-2016-0501⟩. ⟨hal-02370600⟩

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