Session 233

Structure and Transfer

Track I

Date: Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Time: 15:45 – 17:00


Room: Club C

Session Chair:

  • Tatiana Kostova, University of South Carolina

Title: Boundary Spanning for Global Innovation: Knowledge Complementarities, Coordinative Complexity and the West to East Migration of Inventors


  • Prithwiraj Choudhury, Harvard University
  • Martine Haas, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract: In large, globally dispersed firms, collective efforts to develop innovations often involve boundary-spanning, in the form of collaboration across organizational areas or geographic locations. We study how the level of boundary-spanning required influences the likelihood of co-patenting between individuals in different organizational areas or geographic locations and explore mechanisms used by individuals to cross organizational boundaries. We introduce the concept of “coordinative complexity” to refer to the costs involved in collaborating across boundaries. Using hand collected data from a Fortune 50 technology firm we measure coordinative complexity and relate it to the probability of co-patenting. We also study whether the probability of co-patenting increases when coordinative complexity is offset by knowledge or social complementarities between potential co-patentees or in the presence of boundary spanning individuals.

Title: High-Value Outsourcing: Impact of Team Structure and Capabilities on Complex and Uncertain Offshoring Projects


  • Saikat Chaudhuri, University of Pennsylvania
  • Abhijit Mandal, City University

Abstract: Extant research on offshore outsourcing has largely studied non-core, fairly routinized tasks, such as IT services and BPO. However, companies have recently begun outsourcing higher-end work entailing greater complexity and uncertainty, including knowledge-based services like new product development. We hence investigate to what extent the Global Delivery Model can effectively transfer to such projects, by developing a simulation model based on field research of a sample of global software development projects conducted by a leading Indian outsourcing vendor with its customers. We find that an offshore outsourcing approach based on distinct strategic complementarities can handle sophisticated higher-end work, by adopting a suitable team structure and capability composition. The results bear implications for traditional notions of firm boundaries and organizational forms.

Title: Organizational Architecture and Knowledge Transfer Success in Multinational Firms: An Agency Theory Perspective


  • Maximilian Palmié, University of St. Gallen
  • Marcus Matthias Keupp, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
  • Oliver Gassmann, University of St. Gallen

Abstract: We offer a theory and empirical test of the influence of organizational architecture on inter-subsidiary knowledge transfer success within a multinational corporation (MNC). Framing our arguments in an agency theory perspective, we suggest that the parent firm, by appropriately setting the MNC's organizational architecture, can harness the subsidiaries' self-interest to make such knowledge transfers succeed. We build hypotheses on four specific aspects of formal organizational architecture (autonomy, subsidiary mandates, formal cross-unit interfaces between subsidiaries, and formal interfaces with the local environment) and test them with a unique sample of 287 subsidiaries and novel psychometric measures that provide intimate insights into an MNC’s internal structure. We find broad support for the proposed theory and highlight the implications of our research for academia and management practice.

Title: Regional Headquarters and their Impact on Knowledge Transfer Processes in Transnational Companies: A \'Small World\' Network Perspective


  • Sven M. Laudien, University of Erfurt
  • Joerg Freiling, University of Bremen

Abstract: What role do regional headquarters (RHQ) play in the process of spreading knowledge in the internal and external network of transnational companies (TNC)? In our paper we approach this topic based on an understanding of TNC as ‘small world’ networks – a concept from the field of social psychology introduced by Milgram (1967). We employ this concept to show that RHQ as knowledge hubs foster knowledge transfer and competence building within TNCs. The main contribution of our paper is that we develop a formalized approach that provides a proof that RHQ can considerably influence information and knowledge transfer processes in TNCs. By doing so, we try to reduce a gap in research on RHQ.

All Sessions in Track I...

Sun: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 274: Knowledge Foundations: A Conversation with Robert Grant about the Knowledge Based View
Sun: 09:30 – 10:45
Session 273: Big Data, Knowledge and Innovation
Sun: 11:15 – 12:30
Session 275: The Changing Nature of Innovation in Emerging Economies
Sun: 15:15 – 16:30
Session 225: Intellectual Property Rights
Session 229: Structure and Innovation
Mon: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 223: Individuals, Teams and Innovation
Session 242: R&D
Mon: 09:30 – 10:45
Session 140: Knowledge Management & Knowledge Structures: Who knows?
Session 226: Technology
Session 235: Learning
Mon: 13:30 – 14:45
Session 222: Integrating Knowledge about Knowledge Integration
Session 227: Knowledge Transfer and Replication
Mon: 16:30 – 17:45
Session 224: Absorptive Capacity
Session 236: Innovation and Performance
Tue: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 230: Ties, Networks, and Innovation
Session 237: Open Innovation
Tue: 11:00 – 12:15
Session 228: Exploration
Session 231: Alliance and Transfer
Tue: 14:15 – 15:30
Session 234: Incumbent Response to Foreign Entry and to Disruptive Innovation
Session 240: Capabilities
Tue: 15:45 – 17:00
Session 233: Structure and Transfer
Session 243: Entrepreneurs, Ventures, and Innovation
Tue: 17:30 – 18:45
Session 232: Innovation and Transfer
Session 239: Ambidexterity / Exploration and Exploitation
Session 244: Knowledge Management

Strategic Management Society