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Knowledge transfer and the role of local absorptive capability at science and technology parks

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Purpose ‐ This paper aims to investigate to what extent knowledge inflows have taken place among professional Malaysian workforces and what the significant employee-related factors of knowledge transfer are. The development of technology parks at Technology Park Malaysia (TPM), Kulim High Tech Park (KHTP) and Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) is the focus of the discussion. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Data were collected through a self-administered survey to 300 local professionals; and 51 percent responded. A multiple regression was used to identify the significant determinants of transfer of knowledge. Findings ‐ Knowledge transfer from foreign expatriate, parent and peer subsidiary companies to local professionals is at a moderate level. The overall multiple regression shows that workplace learning, personal time management, symptom of replication, adaptation and innovation, and work experience significantly contribute to the transferring of expertise to local professional employees. Research limitations/implications ‐ The success of companies in today's competitive economy lies more in their knowledge and intellectual capital rather than other resources. Therefore, transferring new knowledge from foreign multinational corporations (MNCs) to local workforces is a basic step for future sustainable competitive advantage. Empirical evidence from previous research shows that information and communication technology can facilitate the transfer of knowledge. This is not covered in this study. Practical implications ‐ Training mechanisms must be designed in such a way to promote in-plant training or employee attachment at the parent company or foreign peer subsidiaries. Originality/value ‐ The paper shows that the success of knowledge transfer depends on the absorptive capacity, the organizational learning climate and the willingness of foreign expatriates in multinational corporations to transfer knowledge. This is an empirical indication of knowledge inflows within Malaysian technology parks, which is a relatively new topic to be explored.
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Keywords: Employee behaviour; Knowledge management; Learning organizations; Multinational companies; Workplace learning

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 17, 2013

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