Title

Knowledge assimilation at foreign subsidiaries of Japanese MNCs through political sensegiving and sensemaking

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Organization Studies

Publication Date

3-8-2016

Volume

37

Issue

9

First Page

1297

Last Page

1321

Publisher

Sage Publications Ltd.

Keywords

local knowledge, MNCs, politics, sensegiving, sensemaking

Abstract

We analyse political sensegiving and sensemaking by expatriates and host country employees through exportive, contestative and integrative stages of knowledge assimilation at two China-based subsidiaries of different Japanese MNCs. Comparative case study analysis indicated that efforts by expatriates and HQ-based experts to convey, routinize and standardize home country practices during the exportive and contestative stages, while involving traditional ‘one way’ knowledge transfer, can provide a foundation for a subsequent integrative stage, during which host country employees’ locally embedded knowledge is assimilated despite geopolitical asymmetry between home and host countries. Without this foundation, knowledge assimilation can remain ‘frozen’ at the contestative stage, with host country employees resisting importation of good practices from the HQ, and expatriates marginalizing host country employees’ contributions unless these are exceptionally compelling.

DOI

10.1177/0170840616634128

Print ISSN

01708406

E-ISSN

17413044

Funding Information

This research was partially supported by University Grant no. DR11B1 from Lingnan University, Hong Kong and the Multi-Year Research Grant no. MYRG069-FBA11-HFL from University of Macau.

Publisher Statement

Copyright © The Author(s) 2016. Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

Full-text Version

Publisher’s Version

Recommended Citation

Hong, J. F. L., Snell, R. S., & Mak, C. (2016). Knowledge assimilation at foreign subsidiaries of Japanese MNCs through political sensegiving and sensemaking. Organization Studies, 37(9), 1297-1321. doi: 10.1177/0170840616634128