IMPEDIMENTS TO KNOWLEDGE SHARING: DETERMINANTS OF KNOWLEDGE LOST FOLLOWING REPATRIATION OF INTERNATIONAL STAFF
This paper seeks to study the degree to which organizations use their knowledge following repatriation and to explore whether or not there are any underlying hindrances to knowledge sharing from a people, process and systems perspective. The European Division and Developing Markets divisions, respectively headquartered in the United Kingdom (UK), of a corporate blue chip organization, formed the basis of a single case study. Altogether, eleven in-depth interviews were conducted with a cross-section of respondents including three Human Resource Consultants/Mobility Advisor, one Knowledge Manager and seven assignees who had successfully completed at least one international assignment. Consistent with current literature, the practical failures in the home country mentoring scheme appear to hinder repatriate knowledge sharing and transfer. Repatriates’ perception of a lack of ‘organizational’ value attached to their acquired knowledge and learning resulted in their withdrawal from freely sharing that ‘know-how’ and was thus shown to act as a disincentive to repatriate knowledge sharing and transfer. Findings underscore significant managerial implications for managing repatriate knowledge sharing within multinationals corporations. In particular, study challenges academia’s desire for operational business managers in MNCs to always think strategically about repatriate knowledge transfer and sharing given the ever present operational pressures and financial target objectives within the complex global environment.