Do Foreign-owned Subsidiaries in China Follow a Distinctive Pattern of Technological Knowledge Sourcing

John A. Cantwell, Feng Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study investigates the China-located subsidiaries of foreign-owned multinational corporations (MNCs) for patterns of intra-firm and interorganizational technological knowledge accumulation. We analyze US patents attributed to those subsidiaries between 1996 and 2005 and argue that MNCs have recently tended toward open network structures, enabling subsidiaries in emerging markets to develop technological capabilities by searching for diversified inter-organizational knowledge sources beyond geographically local contexts to compensate for local limitations and deficiencies. Findings show that subsidiaries in China have gradually developed their technological capabilities through non-localized searches beyond their organizational, technological, and geographical boundaries. The study contributes to the literature on MNC organizational restructuring, subsidiary evolution, and subsidiary-level non-localized knowledge searches. The findings also have important implications for knowledge spillovers, MNC knowledge management, and government policies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)489-512
Number of pages24
JournalManagement and Organization Review
Volume9
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management

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