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Do MNCs benefit from knowledge gained by their expatriates?: case studies of SCA and SKF
2006 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In the age of globalization companies are continuously affected by competition around the world. Knowledge is seen as an important competitive advantage and to sustain that, knowledge within an organization needs to be seen as a strategic resource and a prerequisite for creating value. The challenge confronted by many organizations is that often knowledge exists in the head of an individual and consists of information that is transformed by personal experience, values and beliefs. Organizational learning is when companies continuously expand their knowledge through their employees. The purpose of this study is to gain a better understanding of the role of expatriate knowledge within the MNCs’ knowledge management activities: The transfer of expatriate knowledge to the MNC organization as well as how MNCs handle expatriate knowledge. Two qualitative case studies of Swedish MNCs: SCA and SKF, were conducted. Our findings show that expatriation is used as a method, mainly to transfer knowledge from subsidiary to headquarters through annual visits to the home country and through repatriation. In both cases, the expatriates have no obligations to share knowledge with other employees upon their return. Also, during their international assignment, the expatriates rarely have any contact with home country organization, except for contact with their mentors, although in those cases it occurs, the relation concerns mostly practical issues and not specifically knowledge sharing. The organizations do not engage expatriates or provide them with more specific opportunities for knowledge sharing. Expatriates who use expatriation as a part of their personal development will use acquired knowledge only in their future work. If an expatriate quits, the company loses its investment and expatriate’s knowledge, since knowledge is not stored within the organization.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Social Behaviour Law, marketing, organization, management, expatriates, organizational learning, international assignment
Keyword [sv]
Samhälls-, beteendevetenskap, juridik
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-44539ISRN: LTU-DUPP--06/009--SELocal ID: 254a8cd9-2eb3-424c-8fb6-c0dea392eb8bOAI: diva2:1017818
Subject / course
Student thesis, at least 15 credits
Educational program
Industrial Marketing, master's level
Validerat; 20101217 (root)Available from: 2016-10-04 Created: 2016-10-04Bibliographically approved

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