Journal of International Management – Journal
of Knowledge Management
Special Issue Proposal
Joint Call for Papers
Knowledge Management in Innovative or Complex
Inter-Organizational Arrangements: How to Effectively Share,
Transfer, Integrate and Apply Dispersed Knowledge
Journal of International Management
Guest Editors Teams
Prof. Manlio Del Giudice (Lead Guest Editor), University of Rome
“Link Campus”, ITALY, [log in to unmask]
Prof. Masaaki Kotabe, Temple University, USA, [log in to unmask]
Prof. Shlomo Tarba, University of Birmingham, UK, [log in to unmask]
Prof. Arvind Malhotra, The University of North Carolina at Chapel
Hill, USA, [log in to unmask]
Prof. Fábio Lotti Oliva, University of São Paulo, BRAZIL,
[log in to unmask]
Journal of Knowledge Management
Prof. Masaaki Kotabe (Lead Guest Editor), Temple University, USA,
[log in to unmask]
Prof. Fábio Lotti Oliva, University of São Paulo, BRAZIL,
[log in to unmask]
Prof. Ke Rong, Tsinghua University, CHINA, [log in to unmask]
The complexity of the business environment has significantly
increased over time. Globalization, technological innovation, new
international financial flows, climate change, and social change are
some of the main elements present in the administrative equation
imposed on current managers (Merritt, 1974; Chakravarthy, 1997;
Weber and Tarba, 2014). Recently, the corporate world has
incorporated the acronym VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity
and ambiguity) that expresses the speed of change, the
unpredictability of events, the multiplicity of forces, and various
ways of seeing reality that respectively best describe the
environment. (Bennis and Nanus, 1985).
With the most volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous business
environment, organizations need to look for denser strategic
management tools to cope with constant change (Ambrosini and Bowman,
2009; Oliva et al., 2018). One of the administrative responses is
the adoption of new organizational structures that can make
organizations more efficient and effective in the face of
administrative trends such as open innovation, digital
transformation and global presence (Dyer and Singh, 1998; Matricano
et al., 2019).
A number of companies work in different inter-organizational
arrangements establishing transactions that involve sharing
strategies, customers, suppliers, material resources, financial
resources and other elements of common value to develop products and
services. These inter-organizational arrangements seek to make the
organizations involved more agile to better meet market demands in a
more volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous business
environment. Developing capabilities that enable you to read the
changing demands of the business environment, propose internal
change to prepare the organization, and develop products and
services that meet the changing demands are the desired
organizational or inter-organizational dynamic capabilities in this
new context (Teece, Pisano and Shuen, 1997; Kothari, Kotabe and
Murphy, 2013, Del Giudice and Maggioni, 2014; Sarala, Cooper, Junni
and Tarba, 2016).
An intriguing point is to understand how these new
inter-organizational arrangements promote knowledge management.
Considering the knowledge management process as a set of stages of
knowledge definition, acquisition, dissemination, storage,
application and evaluation, it is important to understand how
organizations work at each stage of knowledge management to develop
new products, in product production, customer service or product
distribution in the local and international context.
In this context, considering the multinational companies (MNCs) as
an example of analysis, knowledge management (KM) has become one of
the most important factor to allow continuous value creation (Del
Giudice and Maggioni, 2014), improve customer values (Xue, 2017) and
increase innovativeness (Jiménez-Jiménez, Martínez-Costa and
Sanz-Valle, 2014), thus improving overall firm performances. This
forced MNCs to rethink the role of KM within the organization,
usually bringing it out of its functional research and development
(R&D) silo with the aim at integrating it into the firm intra-
and inter-organizational processes (Mudambi, 2002). As a
consequence, the domain of knowledge management started to attract
higher scholarly interest from the well-established international
business stream of literature (e.g. Buckley, 2002), thus cross
fertilizing research in the two fields of interest.
Although an effort has been directed to study the role of knowledge
in the internationalization process (e.g. Martin and Salomon, 2003),
the knowledge transfer among and across networks (Tallman and
Chacar, 2011; Del Giudice, Maggioni & Carayannis, 2017) and the
reverse knowledge transfer (RKT) between foreign subsidiary and HQ
(e.g. Mudambi, Piscitello & Rabbiosi, 2014) many research gaps
still exist. For example, we still know very little about the
selection and application of specific KM processes that are more
effective to support the international expansion (i.e. knowledge
sourcing, transferring and exploiting) as well as the KM tools that
are more useful for the recombination of external and internal
organizational knowledge, thus improving the overall management of
cross cultural knowledge that resides in culturally different host
countries in which MNCs operate, that is nowadays crucial in the
Taking startups and their inter-organizational relationships as an
example, considering that they are temporary organizations whose
business model is based on the conception of innovation, the
proposition of a solution that transforms a problem, and the
scalability that is configured in the broad offer to society, it is
found that they are agile organizations that generate knowledge and
are dependent on knowledge to play their transformative role (Oliva
and Kotabe, 2019). In this sense, startups use the concept of open
innovation to achieve their growth goals and thus, the effectiveness
of dispersed knowledge management is a decisive factor (Spender et
al., 2017). In the international context, the born global startups
are highly demanding of knowledge about the local markets where they
will operate, the compliance with the various legislations and the
competences of potential innovation partner suppliers (Knight and
Cavusgil, 2004; Cavusgil and Knight,2015; Yoon and Hughes, 2016).
A third example to consider is the importance of knowledge
management in supply chains. Supply chain management has assumed a
leading operations strategy position in the manufacturing and
services sectors (Samuel, Goury, Gunasekaran and Spalanzani, 2011).
Knowledge sharing increases the potential for innovation of the
agents involved, production of higher quality products, cost
reduction in general (Cheng and Fu, 2013). There are some
theoretical gaps regarding the accumulation of knowledge and the
problems of obsolescence of knowledge in production chains (Marra,
Ho and Edwards, 2012).
Recommended areas of research
This is a special issue jointly organized by Journal of Knowledge
Management and Journal of International Management, and urges you to
develop research on various topics related to the central theme,
knowledge management in various inter-organizational arrangements in
the national and international contexts. Emblematic case studies,
action research in large corporations, research in multinational
firms, sectoral quantitative research, research in
inter-organizational networks, qualitative and quantitative research
in the national or international context are some examples. We
welcome conceptual and empirical papers using a diverse range of
methods that address topics such as the indicative themes outlined
• Knowledge management in different inter-organizational
• Knowledge management in born global startups
• The cultural, social, institutional, geographical or economic
dimensions in knowledge management in international
• Knowledge management in agile organizations
• Knowledge management in projects with open innovation
• Barriers, critical success factors and best practices in
knowledge management in inter-organizational arrangements
• Dispersed knowledge management in product development in
• The role of the leading knowledge management company in the
different inter-organizational arrangements
• Dynamic capabilities in knowledge management in different
• The stages of knowledge management in different
• Risk analysis in knowledge management in different
• Ethical dilemmas in knowledge management in different
• The complexity of knowledge management in new product
development, product production, customer service or product
distribution in the local and international context
• Which are the key factors and organizational antecedents that
drive knowledge sharing, seeking and transfer in
• How R&D internationalization choices may be rethought in
the light of the development of a systematic firm KM orientation?
• Which KM tools should be developed by knowledge-intensive
enterprises (KIEs) to transfer and integrate cross cultural
• How do firms manage ownership of intellectual property in
• How the management of internal and external organizational
knowledge can be exploited to develop sustainable competitive
• Which is the link among internationalization, reverse knowledge
transfer, social capital and organizational innovation within MNCs?
• How knowledge management affects the process of
internationalization of emerging markets multinational companies
• How the sourcing of external global knowledge (i.e. from global
suppliers or from specialised “innomediaries”) impact the innovation
performance of MNCs?
• How MNCs develop KM tools or processes to “protect” or “hide”
relevant knowledge from competitors?
• How firms manage the dispersed nature of knowledge for product
development and how a leader firm would evolve in such an
• What is the role of subsidiaries in managing spatially separate
knowledge sources within and across MNC organizational boundaries?
Manuscript submission deadline: March, 31, 2020 (earlier submission
is highly encouraged);
Publication expected: by mid-2021
Author guidelines, submission and review process
This call for papers has been jointly presented on both the Journal
of International Management (JIM) and in the Journal of Knowledge
Management (JKM), but with two different teams of Guest Editors. The
aims and the scope of this first Joint Call for Papers is to
collect, on the two respective journals, a premiere and top quality
set of the most cutting-edge studies and researches focusing on
crucial aspects of knowledge management in international contexts.
Nevertheless, even if the Call for Papers is the same on the two
journals, papers dealing more specifically with formal strategies of
knowledge management in national or international based contexts
should be addressed for submission to the JKM, while papers
involving international dimensions, including cultural,
institutional, geographic, and economic (e.g. developed country vs
developing country), should be instead submitted to the JIM.
Submitted papers which will be considered out of fit for one
journal, may be addressed from the Lead Guest Editor to the other
journal, if the topics are reputed more fitting with its core aims
Manuscripts for both the Journal of International Management and the
Journal of Knowledge Management are subject to a double-blind peer
review process. To format the manuscripts, prospective authors are
invited to consult the Journal’s guideline, which can be retrieved
from the respective webpages:
Journal of International Management:
Journal of Knowledge Management:
Manuscripts should be submitted through these web pages. Authors
should select the special issue title from the drop-down menu while
submitting online, in order to be considered for this special issue.
Informal enquiries are valued, and can be directed to the guest
Journal of International Management:
Journal of Knowledge Management:
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