The Influence of National and Organizational Culture on Absorptive Capacity of Chinese Companies

By Feng Tian and Julian Lowe.

Published by The Organization Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The paper reports on a research study of knowledge acquisition by Chinese firms involved in collaborative ventures with foreign enterprises. The study uses 152 Chinese businesses and examines how absorptive capacity (ACAP), as conceptualized by Cohen and Leventahl (1990) and modified by Zahra and George (2002), and national and organizational culture differences, affect the transfer of knowledge between Chinese firms and their international partners.
The study uses a multivariate modeling approach to examine the impact of a number of factors on successful knowledge transfer. It finds that ACAP has a significant effect on successful knowledge transfer but that the relationship is significantly modified by cultural differences and inter-firm communications. Culture per se does not influence knowledge transfer directly but does so through its impact on communications channels and institutions. Knowledge management practices and organization are also able to impact successful knowledge transfer.

Keywords: China, Absorptive Capacity, Culture Differences, Knowledge Management, Technology Transfer

The International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 7, Issue 10, pp.9-16. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 672.104KB).

Feng Tian

PhD Candidate, School of Business, University of Ballarat, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia

Tian comes from Shenyang, a Manchu historical city of north-eastern China, with a population of 8 million. Tian has worked in a senior executive position in a number of Chinese companies. She was awarded a Bachelor of International Marketing and Business (Honours) degree from North Eastern University in China in 1993, Graduate Diploma in Business and Management from Prime College in Malaysia in 2003, and Master of Business Administration degree with a stream in Research from University of Ballarat in December 2004. Her MBA dissertation focused on the impact of globalisation on the Chinese TV manufacturing industry. This was published in the prestigious China Social Academy Management Journal. Tian is now completing her doctorate, her research interests are in knowledge management, absorptive capacity, knowledge stickiness, technology transfer in Chinese firms.

Julian Lowe

Director, Centre for Regional Innovation and Competitiveness (CRIC), University of Ballarat, Victoria, Australia

Professor Julian Lowe is Professor and Director of the Centre for Regional Innovation and Competitiveness (CRIC), university of Ballarat, Australia and Professor of Strategic Management at University of West England (Bristol),UK. Professor Lowe was privous Professor of Business Policy at University of Wollongong and Senior Lecturer at the University of Nottingham and Bath. Professor Lowe has published widely in the area of Strategy, entrepreneurship collaboration, alliances and technology licensing. Recent work includes a study of technology licensing in UK manufacturing, managing alliance in the aerospace industry; clustering and regional development; Chinese economics and management and fast growth new firms.


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