Looking out for the Moral Career: Expatriates' Identity Work in Reverse Knowledge Transfer

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    In the last decade, researchers have shown that MNCs need to reverse knowledge transfer to secure their competitiveness in the global market. Lately this has been studied through re/expatriates. This study presents two exemplary cases from a study of 64 interviews conducted in 5 of the largest Danish MNCs. The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, to understand the role identity work plays in the ability and willingness of expatriates to learn and transfer knowledge. Second, to introduce Life Course Theory as an important methodological contribution with which to capture the entangled relationship between agency and structure within reverse knowledge transfer. Third, to develop and extend the current theoretical and methodological frame that govern the research of knowledge transfer. The present study indicates that institutionally generated organisational frames and work organising practices develop and feed certain power structures and communities, which influence the possibility of agency and as a result reverse knowledge transfer. The findings of this study stress that: 1) power is as an important productive force in identity work: consequently, it has the ability both to hinder and spur the processes of transformative learning and reverse knowledge transfer; 2) reverse knowledge transfer can be hindered by the lack of transformative learning in the single individual.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEURAM'11 Proceedings : Management Culture in the 21st Century
    Number of pages37
    Place of PublicationTallin
    PublisherEstonian Business School
    Publication date2011
    ISBN (Print)9789985982471
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    Event11th European Academy of Management Conference: Management Culture in the 21st Century - Tallin, Estonia
    Duration: 1 Jun 20114 Jun 2011
    Conference number: 11


    Conference11th European Academy of Management Conference
    Internet address

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