A Knowledge System Approach to the Multinational Company: Conceptual Grounding and Implications for Research

Yves Dos, Nicolai J. Foss, José Santos

    Research output: Working paperResearch

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    The role of knowledge, organizational learning, and innovation as levers of competitive advantage is now a commonly acknowledged insight in research in international management. However, while the agglomeration of insights of described as the "knowledge-based view" is a promising theoretical lens, insights are not organized into a unifying framework and there are significant holes in the understanding of how knowledge may be turned into a source of competitive advantage for MNCs. In order to advance the knowledge-based theory of the MNC, we develop the notion of the MNC as a global knowledge system linking local knowledge structures and combining local knowledge elements that are complementary to confer strategic advantage, and relate this to the theory of complex systems deriving from the work of Herbert Simon. These ideas are used to frame the changing environments, strategic intents, and learning stances that characterize MNCs, and to derive a set of research challenges for MNC research.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationFrederiksberg
    PublisherCenter for Strategic Management and Globalization
    Number of pages40
    ISBN (Print)9788791815331
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008
    SeriesSMG Working Paper


    • Knowledge-based view of the MNC
    • Knowledge structure
    • Complementarities
    • Complex systems

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