Research Handbook on Knowledge Transfer and International Business by Edward Elgar Publishing



We are inviting chapters of approximately 10,000 words (although there is much room for flexibility to accommodate the different topics) towards this research handbook. Based on the requests from some of the potential contributors, we have extended the deadline to 30th September 2019. Once the chapters are submitted, comments will be provided to the authors within 2 months, and we will seek the final version of the chapters from authors in another 3-4 months. We request you to submit your chapters to [log in to unmask]. Please let us know if you have any questions. We look forward to receiving your chapter. 



Zaheer Khan, University of Kent, UK ([log in to unmask])

Smitha R. Nair, University of East Anglia, UK ([log in to unmask]

Yong Kyu Lew, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Republic of Korea ([log in to unmask]



The research handbook aims to bring together the burgeoning and fragmented literature on Knowledge Transfer in the international context, and to provide a definitive direction for future debates and enquiries. While the modern business landscape has become more complex and turbulent, firms have increasingly embraced multiple types of knowledge collaboration and acquisition (by way of strategic alliances and acquisitions) in their attempts to expand into wider markets and consolidate their position, gain access to resources, and acquire technology and know-how (Almeida, Song and Grant, 2002; Bresman, Birkinshaw and Nobel, 1999; Dhanaraj et al., 2004; Lane, Salk and Lyles, 2001; Mudambi, Piscitello and Rabbiosi, 2014; Nair, Demirbag and Mellahi, 2016; Perez-Nordtvedt et al., 2008; Sarala et al., 2016). These collaborative networks often prove to be ‘fertile grounds’ for firms to engage in knowledge exchange and learning, which is considered vital for creating competitive advantage (Argote and Ingram, 2000; Kogut and Zander, 1993; Lyles and Salk, 1996). This has paved way for the growing literature on knowledge transfer, especially between organisations (or organisational units) that are geographically dispersed across different countries or continents. The extant research has largely explored the different antecedents and consequences pertaining to knowledge transfer (Andersson et al., 2015; Driffield, Love and Menghinello, 2010; Foss and Pederson, 2002; Gupta and Govindarajan, 2000; Khan et al., 2015; Minbaeva et al., 2003; Szulanski, Ringov and Jensen, 2016; van Wijk et al., 2008; Zhao and Anand, 2009), while spanning different levels of analysis, including inter-firm, firm, group and individual. The literature also extensively borrows from a wide range of theoretical perspectives to explain the knowledge transfer mechanisms at work with regard to these antecedents and/or consequences. These diverse themes and perspectives have contributed to the fragmented state of the literature and hence this book proposes to highlight emerging common ground and concerns between these themes, and to promote cross-fertilization of ideas and theoretical integration in the context of international knowledge transfer. The digitization and orchestration of diverse global value chain activities also require new means to transfer cross-border knowledge within and across firms, therefore, research is needed in understanding the key mechanisms and timing of such mechanisms and how different mechanisms influence the cross-border knowledge transfer process. 


Thus, this handbook is timely and will provide fresh insights into the challenges faced by multinational enterprises whilst engaging in knowledge transfer and further highlight the contextual influences imposed by the industrial sectors and countries that they are associated with. The proposed volume offers a rare and unique opportunity for scholars engaged in research on knowledge transfer to share their findings in such a scholarly outlet. Chapters will be fresh, previously unpublished work, which has an international dimension. A list of indicative themes (but not limited to) that we look forward to receiving as potential contributions is listed below: 


Indicative Themes 


·         Theoretical perspectives relevant to knowledge transfer 

·         Micro-foundations of knowledge transfer 

·         Knowledge transfer processes: managerial and organisational mechanisms 

·         Cultural and institutional influences on knowledge transfer in various contexts 

·         Comparative analyses of cross-border/regional knowledge transfer 

·         Different aspects of knowledge transfer – dimensions, directions and levels, in the context of multinational networks, joint ventures, M&As and non-equity based strategic alliances 

·         Knowledge transfers, specifically to/from emerging/developing economies 

·         The role of leadership and top management teams in international knowledge transfer 

·         The role of social capital in knowledge transfer – networks & relationships 

·         Knowledge transfer, innovation & firm performance 

·         Knowledge characteristics and their influences on knowledge transfer 

·         The role of language in the process of cross-border knowledge transfer 

·         The impact of organizational structure and absorptive capacity in cross-border knowledge transfer 

·         Reverse knowledge transfer and its impact on innovation 

·         Cross-border knowledge combination between specialized firms 




Zaheer Khan, Smitha Nair & Yong Kyu Lew




Almeida, P., Song, J. & Grant, R. M. (2002), Are Firms Superior to Alliances and Markets? An Empirical Test of Cross-Border Knowledge Building, Organization Science, 13(2), 147–161. 

Andersson, U., Gaur, A., Mudambi, R. & Persson, M. (2015), Unpacking interunit knowledge transfer in multinational enterprises. Global Strategy Journal, 5(3), 241-255.

Argote, L. and Ingram, P. (2000), Knowledge Transfer: A Basis for Competitive Advantage in Firms, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 82(1), 150–169. Bresman, H., Birkinshaw, J. & Nobel, R. (1999), Knowledge Transfer in International Acquisitions. Journal of International Business Studies, 30(3), 439-462. 

Dhanaraj, C., Lyles, M. A., Steensma, H. K. & Tihanyi, L. (2004), Managing Tacit and Explicit Knowledge Transfer in IJVs: The Role of Relational Embeddedness and the Impact on Performance, Journal of International Business Studies, 35, 428-442. 

Driffield, N., Love, J. H. & Menghinello, S. (2010), The multinational enterprise as a source of international knowledge flows: Direct evidence from Italy, Journal of International Business Studies, 41, 350–359. 

Foss, N. J. & Pederson, T. (2002), Transferring Knowledge in MNCs: The Role of Sources of Subsidiary Knowledge in Organizational Context, Journal of International Management, 8(1), 49-67. 

Gupta, A. K. & Govindarajan, V. (2000), Knowledge Flows Within Multinational Corporations, Strategic Management Journal, 21, 473-496. 

Khan, Z., Shenkar, O., & Lew, Y.K. (2015), Knowledge transfer from international joint ventures to local suppliers in a developing economy. Journal of International Business Studies, 46(6), 656-675. 

Kogut, B. & Zander, U. (1993), Knowledge of the firm and the evolutionary theory of the Multinational Corporation, Journal of International Business Studies, 24(4), 625-645. 

Lane, P. J., Salk, J. E. & Lyles, M.A. (2001), Absorptive Capacity, Learning, and Performance in International Joint Ventures, Strategic Management Journal, 22, 1139-1161. 

Lyles, M. A. & Salk, J. E. (1996), Knowledge Acquisition from Foreign Parents in International Joint Ventures: An Empirical Examination in the Hungarian Context. Journal of International Business Studies, 27(5), 877-903. 

Minbaeva, D. B., Pedersen, T., Bjorkman, I., Fey, C. F. & Park, H. J. (2003), MNC knowledge transfer, subsidiary absorptive capacity, and HRM, Journal of International Business Studies, 34, 586–599. 

Mudambi, R., Piscitello, L. & Rabbiosi, L. (2014), Reverse knowledge transfer in MNEs: Subsidiary innovativeness and entry modes. Long Range Planning, 47(1-2), 49-63. 

Nair, S. R., Demirbag, M. & Mellahi, K. (2016), Reverse knowledge transfer in emerging market multinationals: The Indian context. International Business Review, 25(1), 152-164. 

Pérez-Nordtvedt, L., Kedia, B. L., Datta, D. K. & Rasheed, A. A. (2008), Effectiveness and Efficiency of Cross-Border Knowledge Transfer: An Empirical Examination. Journal of Management Studies, 45(4), 714-744. 

Sarala, R. M., Junni, P., Cooper, C. L. & Tarba, S. Y. (2016), A sociocultural perspective on knowledge transfer in mergers and acquisitions. Journal of Management, 42(5), 1230-1249. 

Szulanski, G., Ringov, D. & Jensen, R. J. (2016), Overcoming stickiness: How the timing of knowledge transfer methods affects transfer difficulty. Organization Science, 27(2), 304-322. 

van Wijk, R., Jansen, J.J., & Lyles, M.A. (2008), Interand intraorganizational knowledge transfer: a metaanalytic review and assessment of its antecedents and consequences. Journal of Management Studies, 45(4), 830-853. 

Zhao, Z. J. & Anand, J. (2009), A multilevel perspective on knowledge transfer: Evidence from the Chinese automotive industry. Strategic Management Journal, 30(9), 959-983.



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