Not all international assignments are equal

A new online paper on how different types of international assignments transfer different types of knowledge

At the EURAM meeting in Glasgow, I had the great pleasure to meet up with Florence Duvivier. Florence recently completed her PhD with Carine Peeters and presented a paper on international assignments and knowledge transfer in Glasgow that drew on some of my earlier work in this field. After a nice dinner chatting about the paper, Florence invited me to join Carine and herself to transform the conference paper into a journal article. Just over 1.5 years later, I am very pleased to announce that the paper has been accepted for Journal of World Business.

  • Duvivier, F.; Peeters, C.; Harzing, A.W. (2019) Not all international assignments are created equal: HQ-subsidiary knowledge transfer patterns across types of assignments and types of knowledgeJournal of World Business, vol. 54, no. 3, pp. 181-190. Available online... - Publisher's version (free access!) - Related blog post


Drawing on 50 semi-structured interviews in a case study of a Belgian multinational and its foreign subsidiary in Poland, we develop new insights into how using different types of international assignments (long-term expatriation, short-term expatriation, short-term inpatriation) allows a HQ-subsidiary dyad to transfer different types of knowledge (declarative, procedural, axiomatic, relational), both from and to HQ, during and after the assignment. We show how each type of assignment acts as a unique knowledge transfer channel, and why it is critical that HQ-subsidiary dyads use an appropriate combination and sequence of international assignments reflecting their specific knowledge transfer needs.

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