Effective knowledge transfer and creation promote internationalisation in SMEs

May 9, 2012

In small and medium-sized companies, investments in knowledge transfer and creation promote internalisation. Knowledge is transferred both through internal and external transfer, i.e. between the various actors within the company and outside it, such as customers and other companies.

Knowledge transfer and creation play a key role especially in the most important functions related to internationalisation, which are production, product development and international marketing.

Tenho Kohonen's study combines learning culture with a company's internal knowledge transfer and with its external knowledge transfer. According to the results, a good learning culture improves internal knowledge transfer and ample social capital enhances external knowledge transfer.

The target group of the study comprised small and medium-sized companies that produce components for foreign end . The study provides new information on knowledge transfer and creation as well as the internationalisation of SMEs.

The knowledge creation theory developed in large enterprises, for example, contains too many phases to be applied to SMEs. Instead, a simpler model is usually better applied to them: for example, a manager comes up with a new outlook which is then "sold" to others and implemented in practice.

According to Kohonen's study, the most essential aspect of internal knowledge transfer is that the competence of production teams is developed to make production more efficient and improve .

Knowledge transfer between teams in the various stages of production is equally important, as it increases throughout the production chain. A learning culture in which everyone is willing to do their best promotes internal knowledge transfer.

External knowledge transfer makes use of knowledge which is possessed by customers and various organisations and may relate to various functions. When a company makes new policies, the competence of external board members, for example, can be taken into use. Social capital is based on interpersonal relationships and bears great significance when transferring external knowledge to a company.

A central finding in the study was the effect that internationalisation-related corporate policies had on knowledge transfer and creation. A "relationship deepener" only focuses on a few foreign customers in a nearby country.

In this case, the people involved consist of various experts that may create versatile new information among themselves. A "market expander", on the other hand, constantly seeks new target countries either exclusively in Europe or also in other continents. The and creation of a market expander is based on contacts with several new and increasingly demanding customers.

Explore further: Business getting the most from research

More information: Lic.Sc. (Econ.) Tenho Kohonen's doctoral dissertation Knowledge transfer and creation in the internationalisation of small and medium sized subcontractors in metal industry.

Related Stories

Business getting the most from research

November 10, 2010

Management and business performance, rather than technological innovation, is the main focus for companies collaborating with universities, according to major survey of businesses conducted by the Centre for Business Research ...

Alibaba head rejects Yahoo! protest over pay unit

May 15, 2011

The head of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba said Saturday the firm's move to transfer ownership of its online payment unit was "legal and 100 percent transparent", rejecting protests by US-based Yahoo!

Don't (always) talk to your neighbor

July 11, 2011

Conventional wisdom among managers holds that employees helping each other can only be good for a company. Accordingly, firms spend money, time and effort to promote what’s known as "knowledge transfer." Policies range ...

Recommended for you

Chimpanzees shed light on origins of human walking

October 6, 2015

A research team led by Stony Brook University investigating human and chimpanzee locomotion have uncovered unexpected similarities in the way the two species use their upper body during two-legged walking. The results, reported ...

How much for that Nobel prize in the window?

October 3, 2015

No need to make peace in the Middle East, resolve one of science's great mysteries or pen a masterpiece: the easiest way to get yourself a Nobel prize may be to buy one.

The dark side of Nobel prizewinning research

October 4, 2015

Think of the Nobel prizes and you think of groundbreaking research bettering mankind, but the awards have also honoured some quite unhumanitarian inventions such as chemical weapons, DDT and lobotomies.

Who you gonna trust? How power affects our faith in others

October 6, 2015

One of the ongoing themes of the current presidential campaign is that Americans are becoming increasingly distrustful of those who walk the corridors of power – Exhibit A being the Republican presidential primary, in which ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.