Knowledge flow and boundary crossing at the periphery of a MNC

Fok Loi, Jacky HONG, Robin Stanley SNELL, Mark EASTERBY-SMITH

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we develop a model of four modes of knowledge flow, two involving knowledge acquisition and sharing, and two involving the localizing, embedding and investment of knowing in practice. We illustrate the model with data from an embedded case study involving a focal China-based subsidiary of a Japanese MNC, its headquarters, and two of its local suppliers. While power asymmetries appeared to have substantial impact on the terms upon which syntactic, semantic and pragmatic boundaries were crossed, successful knowledge transfer and boundary crossing appeared to depend on the willingness and ability of the various parties to engage in joint development of knowledge for mutual benefit.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-554
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Business Review
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2009


  • Boundary crossing
  • Inter-organizational learning
  • Knowledge transfer
  • MNCs
  • Power


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