Ambidexterity in MNC knowledge sourcing in emerging economies: a microfoundational perspective

One of the joys of working at Middlesex University is having the most wonderful colleagues in the world. So when there was a chance of working with my colleagues Mariana Dodourova and Shasha Zhao (now University of Surrey) on a paper on knowledge sourcing I happily agreed.

Working with nice people makes the inevitable rejections and rounds of R&Rs much more bearable. Mariana or Shasha will be writing a longer blogpost about our paper soon, but I couldn't wait to share the good news of our paper's acceptance today.

Abstract

Innovation performance of multinational corporations (MNCs) derives from access to and utilization of a combination of explorative and exploitative knowledge across heterogeneous settings. These settings increasingly encompass flagship industries in emerging economies. There is limited research, however, that scrutinizes the processes of knowledge sourcing within such dynamic host environments, taking into account MNCs’ differing location capabilities.

We draw on the concept of ambidexterity – the combination of exploration and exploitation – and the microfoundations approach to study eleven MNCs in the Bulgarian software development industry by focusing on their local R&D projects. We extend the explanatory capacity of ambidexterity at the micro level and clarify the relationship between exploration and exploitation by identifying four types of ambidexterity: global knowledge differentiator, global-local knowledge integrator, emerging local-global integrator, and local knowledge integrator. Our typology is underpinned by three specific dimensions of R&D capabilities: technical know-how, scope of expertise, and market potential.

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