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New publication international knowledge transfer in multinational companies

New publication international knowledge transfer in multinational companies

© K. J. Schaefer; S. Hennemann; I. Liefner, 2024

In the paper “Give us ideas! “Creating innovativeness through strategic direction of reverse technology transfers” Kerstin Schäfer, Stefan Hennemann and Ingo Liefner examine spatial-temporal patterns of knowledge transfer within multinational companies.

The article discusses the transfer of knowledge within the company Huawei, which, in addition to its headquarters in Shenzhen (China), operates numerous foreign research and development branches, e.g. in California, Texas, Stockholm and Munich. The article combines large-scale quantitative analyzes of patents with information from interviews in a mixed methods approach.

A key result is that new knowledge created in foreign branches is transferred to China much more quickly than in the opposite direction. From the headquarters' perspective, what is particularly interesting is not knowledge of technical implementation options, but, above all, new ideas that can make the company's products stand out in the future. By transferring strategic ideas, the company manages to compensate lack of innovation capability at its domestic location and is able to create competitive technologies.

Kerstin J. Schaefer; Stefan Hennemann; Ingo Liefner (2024): Give us ideas! Creating innovativeness through strategic direction of reverse technology transfers. The Journal of Technology Transfer. DOI: 10.1007/s10961-024-10092-8

Additional papers about the Huawei case study are:

  • Schaefer, K. J. (2020): Catching-up by Hiring: The Case of Huawei. Journal of International Business Studies. DOI: 10.1057/s41267-019-00299-5
  • Schaefer, K. J. (2020): Competitiveness through R&D internationalization: patent- and interview data based studies on a latecomer in the telecommunications industry. Hannover: Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Universität, Dissertation. DOI: 10.15488/9239
  • Liefner, I.; Si, Y.-F.; Schaefer, K. (2019): A latecomer firm's R&D collaboration with advanced country universities and research institutes: The case of Huawei in Germany. Technovation 86-87, 3-14.
  • Schaefer, K.J.; Liefner, I. (2017): Offshore versus domestic: Can EM MNCs reach higher R&D quality abroad? In: Scientometrics, Vol. 113 (3), 1349-1370. DOI: 10.1007/s11192-017-2533-5