Looking out for the Moral Career

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Looking out for the Moral Career

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Title: Looking out for the Moral Career
Expatriates´ Identity Work in Reverse Knowledge Transfer
Author: Feldt, Liv Egholm
Abstract: In the last decade, researchers have shown that MNCs need to reverse knowledge transfer to secure their competitiveness in the global market. Lately this has been studied through re/expatriates. This study presents two exemplary cases from a study of 64 interviews conducted in 5 of the largest Danish MNCs. The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, to understand the role identity work plays in the ability and willingness of expatriates to learn and transfer knowledge. Second, to introduce Life Course Theory as an important methodological contribution with which to capture the entangled relationship between agency and structure within reverse knowledge transfer. Third, to develop and extend the current theoretical and methodological frame that govern the research of knowledge transfer. The present study indicates that institutionally generated organisational frames and work organising practices develop and feed certain power structures and communities, which influence the possibility of agency and as a result reverse knowledge transfer. The findings of this study stress that: 1) power is as an important productive force in identity work: consequently, it has the ability both to hinder and spur the processes of transformative learning and reverse knowledge transfer; 2) reverse knowledge transfer can be hindered by the lack of transformative learning in the single individual. The empirical material in this paper has been collected in the research project ”Cultural Intelligence as a Strategic Resource”. The project was funded by the Danish Strategic Research Council and conducted by Lisbeth Clausen, Liv Egholm Feldt, Martine Cardel Gertsen, Anne-Marie Søderberg, Verner Worm and Mette Zølner, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. The research team have had privileged access to five of the largest Danish MNCs. While the collection of material has in general been carried out by the research team, Liv Egholm Feldt is the only person responsible for the analysis, reflections and perspectives presented in this paper. To secure the anonymity of the interviewees, fictitious names have been used.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10398/8436
Date: 2012-03-29
Notes: Paper presented at track 44. Organizational behavior: new frontiers in the 21st century At the 11th EURAM Annual Conference Tallinn, Estonia, 1-4 June 2011

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