Unpacking Interunit Knowledge Transfer in Multinational Enterprises

Ulf Andersson, Ajai Gaur, Ram Mudambi, Magnus Persson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


We examine the success of knowledge transfer within an MNE network by unpacking aggregate knowledge flows into individual projects. We assess knowledge transfer performance along two dimensions: utilization of transferred knowledge and transfer cost. We argue that the substitutive versus complementary nature of subunits' activities is a key determinant of knowledge utilization at the target subunit. Further, we posit that headquarters' incentives and monitoring are crucial factors affecting both the utilization and transfer cost dimensions. Our empirical results, based on 141 individual intersubunit knowledge transfer projects involving 49 subunits in 12 European countries largely support our arguments. Our methodology highlights the fact that aggregate measures of interunit knowledge flows can be misleading since they may include individual projects with widely differing levels of success.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-255
Number of pages15
JournalGlobal Strategy Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management


  • Activities
  • Competition
  • Cooperation
  • Knowledge transfer
  • Structure
  • Subsidiaries


Dive into the research topics of 'Unpacking Interunit Knowledge Transfer in Multinational Enterprises'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this