Dear Colleagues
Please note the extended deadline for submissions to the special issues is 31 August 2020

International Business Review

Call for papers

Managing cross-border knowledge for innovation


Knowledge is central to organizations’ goals. Effective knowledge management offers the potential to enhance innovation through rapid learning, and facilitates the development of new technology related to both products and processes (Andersson, Dasí, Mudambi, & Pedersen, 2016). In addition to the efficient exploitation of internal knowledge and resources, multinational enterprises (MNEs) seek to strategize ways to acquire and embed relevant knowledge through connections with external sources (Khedhaouria & Jamal, 2015).

The cross-border sourcing of knowledge is important to MNEs, regardless of home country. Far from being primarily the domain of developed-economy firms, research suggests that emerging-market MNEs (EMNEs) often use acquisitions to achieve rapid learning from foreign operations, in their quest to become key global players (Lynch & Jin, 2016). Perri, Scalera, and Mudambi (2017) identify foreign actors (including MNEs, universities, and research centers) as critical sources of knowledge spillovers for EMNEs, and highlight the importance of innovation networks. Knowledge also flows from emerging to developed economies; this is referred to as ‘reverse knowledge transfer’ in the literature (Driffield, Love, & Yang, 2016).

Cross-border knowledge sourcing is important for internationally-active firms of all sizes. Although academic research has primarily focused on large MNEs, and there is a need for further investigation of foreign knowledge sourcing and transfer that involves smaller firms (Garg & Zhao, 2018). While explicit knowledge may be more accessible, the sourcing of tacit knowledge remains a challenge (Ahammad, Tarba, Liu, & Glaister, 2016; Guo, Jasovska, Rammal, & Rose, 2018; Papa, Dezi, Gregori, Mueller, & Miglietta, 2018); the people-embeddedness of tacit knowledge makes the further study of MNEs; strategies for talent acquisition, management, and retention important.

Furthermore, the Industry 4.0 model that involves increased automation, machine learning, and use of artificial intelligence, along with ambitious national targets such as the ‘Made in China 2025’ plans, the role of institutions and the state in the facilitation (or limitation) of knowledge sourcing, and rapid learning (Ciabuschi, Kong, & Su, 2017) and innovation in service firms (Mol & Brandl, 2018), also warrant further investigation.

For this special issue, we invite both conceptual papers and empirical work, which can be based on qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods. While not exhaustive, the following list suggests possible topics that could be addressed in the special issue:

-       The development of knowledge and capabilities for international business

-       International knowledge spillovers

-       The role of global innovation networks in global value chains

-       ‘Reverse knowledge’ adoption and innovation from emerging economies to developed economies

-       The role of institutions and the state in promoting the development, acquisition, sharing, and utilization of knowledge and innovation

-       Knowledge, entrepreneurial orientation, and international performance

-       Knowledge transfer between small firms and MNEs

-       Knowledge sourcing and innovation in knowledge-intensive business services (KIBS) firms

-       Talent management for knowledge and innovation

Guest Editors:

Associate Professor Hussain G. Rammal - University of Technology Sydney, Australia.

Professor Elizabeth L. Rose - University of Leeds, UK.

Associate Professor João J.M. Ferreira - University of Beira Interior (UBI), Portugal.


Submission Information:

• All papers will be subject to double-blind peer review.

Authors should follow the IBR guidelines; see .

• All submissions should be submitted electronically to choosing SI: knowledge for innovation as the article type.


Submission deadline: 31 August 2020

• Questions about the Special Issue can be directed to the guest editors: Hussain G. Rammal ([log in to unmask]), Elizabeth L. Rose ([log in to unmask]) and João J.M. Ferreira ([log in to unmask]).




Ahammad, M. F., Tarba, S. Y., Liu, Y., & Glaister, K. W. (2016). Knowledge transfer and cross-border acquisition performance: The impact of cultural distance and employee retention. International Business Review, 25, 66-75.

Andersson, U., Dasí, À., Mudambi, R., & Pedersen, T. (2016). Technology, innovation and knowledge: The importance of ideas and international connectivity. Journal of World Business, 51, 153-162.

Ciabuschi, F., Kong, L., & Su, C. (2017). Knowledge sourcing from advanced markets subsidiaries: political embeddedness and reverse knowledge transfer barriers in emerging-market multinationals. Industrial and Corporate Change, 26, 311-332.

Driffield, N., Love, J. H., & Yang, Y. (2016). Reverse international knowledge transfer in MNE: (Where) does affiliate performance boost parent performance? Research Policy, 45, 491-506.

Garg, P., & Zhao, M. (2018). Knowledge sourcing by multidivisional firms. Strategic Management Journal, 39, 3326-3354.

Guo, Y., Jasovska, P., Rammal, H. G., & Rose, E. L. (2020). Global mobility of professionals and the transfer of tacit knowledge in multinational service firms. Journal of Knowledge Management, 24(3), 553-567.

Khedhaouria, A., & Jamal, A. (2015). Sourcing knowledge for innovation: knowledge reuse and creation in project teams. Journal of Knowledge Management, 19, 932-948.

Lynch, R., & Jin, Z. (2016). Knowledge and innovation in emerging market multinationals: The expansion paradox. Journal of Business Research, 69, 1593-1597.

Mol, M. J., & Brandl, K. (2018). Bridging what we know: The effect of cognitive distance on knowledge-intensive business services produced offshore. International Business Review, 27, 669-677.

Papa, A., Dezi, L., Gregori, G. L., Mueller, J., & Miglietta, N. (2018). Improving innovation performance through knowledge acquisition: the moderating role of employee retention and human resource management practices. Journal of Knowledge Management,

Perri, A., Scalera, V. G., & Mudambi, R. (2017). What are the most promising conduits for foreign knowledge inflows? Innovation networks in the Chinese pharmaceutical industry. Industrial and Corporate Change, 26, 333-355.

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