Learning from the world? Horizontal knowledge flows and geopolitics in international consulting firms

Boussebaa, M. , Sturdy, A. and Morgan, G. (2014) Learning from the world? Horizontal knowledge flows and geopolitics in international consulting firms. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 25(9), pp. 1227-1242. (doi:10.1080/09585192.2013.826711)

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Abstract

This paper examines the nature of the contemporary multinational corporation (MNC) through a study of the use of knowledge management systems (KMS) in four major international consulting firms. In particular, we explore whether and how such systems facilitate horizontal (inter-subsidiary) flows of knowledge, as described in the network view of the MNC. Our analysis reveals the presence of horizontal flows within the four firms, but flows that are contextually constrained and partly shaped by geopolitical power relations. Thus, our study gives some support to the image of the MNC as a network whilst highlighting the contextual limits of horizontal knowledge transfer and, importantly, the geopolitical conditions under which such knowledge transfer takes place. At the same time, it challenges the claim that consulting firms are model organizations in the area of knowledge management as well as the more negative view that questions the ability of KMS to facilitate knowledge transfer.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Boussebaa, Professor Mehdi
Authors: Boussebaa, M., Sturdy, A., and Morgan, G.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:International Journal of Human Resource Management
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:0958-5192
ISSN (Online):1466-4399
Published Online:12 September 2013
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 Taylor and Francis
First Published:First published in International Journal of Human Resource Management 25(9): 1227-1242
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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