Knowledge Recipients, Acquisition Mechanisms, and Knowledge Transfer at Japanese Subsidiaries: An Empirical Study in China

Authors Organisations
Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-479
JournalThunderbird International Business Review
Issue number6
Early online date21 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015
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Although knowledge transfer contributes to a firm's competitive advantage, the effect of mechanisms used by a knowledge recipient on knowledge acquisition has been understudied. This article provides some insights on the interplay of knowledge recipients and transfer mechanisms between Japanese multinational corporations and their subsidiaries operating in China. Using structural equation methodology, this research proposes a knowledge transfer model that captures knowledge recipients’ characteristics and acquisition mechanisms, and empirically investigates the impact of knowledge recipients on mechanisms to test the applicability of specific mechanisms in knowledge acquisition. This article argues that knowledge recipients’ motivation and absorptive capacity have a positive impact on knowledge acquisition, and simultaneously provides evidence that mechanisms have mediating effects, which are vital to our understanding of knowledge transfer effectiveness. This study extends our understanding by adding knowledge transfer mechanisms as mediating factors in the relationship between knowledge recipients’ characteristics and knowledge acquisition, and quantifying the relationship. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc


  • knowledge transfer, absorptive capacity, motivation, mechanisms, Japanese MNCs, knowledge recipients' characteristics, China