Managerial attention and antecedents of knowledge source exploitation in MNCs

PublikationArtikel (med peer review)
Företagandets villkor, Robert Demir



– The purpose of this paper is to address the limitations of prior views regarding knowledge source exploitation by proposing a phenomenological approach to managerial attention and the antecedents of exploiting knowledge sources within the multinational corporations (MNC) network.

– A phenomenological approach to attention is taken to explain the antecedents of managerial attention in knowledge source exploitation behavior. This approach provides an alternative way of conceiving of knowledge source remoteness and familiarity, on the one hand, and exclusion and inclusion on the other.

– Drawing on a phenomenological approach to attention, the merits and limits of prior studies of attention and knowledge seeking/exchange behavior are addressed and three modes of managerial attention are proposed – relative attention, mimetic attention, implicit attention – to explain the antecedents of managerial attention to MNC knowledge sources.


– This approach to knowledge source exploitation and attention provides a rich conceptualization of taken‐for‐granted assumptions in extant literature on managerial attention and knowledge‐seeking behavior. The framework offered here builds on a conceptually rigid foundation of attention that overcomes dualisms such as mind‐body, subject‐object, and thinking‐acting that are often embedded in other mainstream approaches to managerial attention.

Kumar, N., & Demir, R. (2013). Managerial attention and antecedents of knowledge source exploitation in MNCs. Critical Perspectives on International Business, 9(3), 271-300.

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Demir, R. & Angwin, D.



Transforming economies pose significant challenges to multinational corporations’ (MNCs) business models (e.g., Chan et al., 2016; Sánchez & Ricart, 2010). This is because they are characterized by uncertain, highly volatile, and changing institutional frameworks (Peng, Wang, & Jiang, 2008). For instance, China is distinguished by weaker regulatory regimes and industry standards (Tan, 2009; Tsai & Child, 1997). So, whilst business models contribute to rapid internationalization (Dunford, Palmer, & Benveniste, 2010) and local competition in transforming economies (Tallman, Luo, & Buckley, 2018), entering those economies incurs institutional and market challenges. These fundamentally threaten MNCs’ business model viability (Birkinshaw, Zimmermann, & Raisch, 2016b).

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Open innovation has rendered increased interest both in practice and research, and has expanded from dyadic transfers of ideas, to ecosystem levels. Knowledge is at the heart of open innovation, and this paper describes and discusses knowledge-transfer linkages for open innovation. It does so based on a literature review. The paper links together open innovation research with general management research to categorise and discuss linkages among parties in terms of their openness and how they relate to knowledge management. Conclusions indicate that openness needs to be considered in different dimensions that also links to different knowledge management outcomes. The paper’s contribution consists of how it connects open innovation research to the general management literature, and how it builds a practical understanding of how linkages between firms can be categorised to aid firms to consider which mechanisms they may choose and why.

A revised perspective on innovation policy for renewal of mature economies – Historical evidence from finance and telecommunications in Sweden 1980–1990
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Eriksson, K., Ernkvist, M., Laurell, C., Moodysson, J., Nykvist, R. & Sandström, C.



What is the role of innovation policy for accomplishing renewal of mature industries in Western economies? Drawing upon an unusually rich dataset spanning 9752 digitized archival documents, we categorize and code decisions taken by policymakers on several levels while also mapping and quantifying the strategic activities of both entrant firms and incumbent monopolists over a decade. Our data concerns two empirical cases from Sweden during the time period 1980–1990: the financial sector and the telecommunications sector. In both industries, a combination of technological and institutional upheaval came into motion during this time period which in turn fueled the revitalization of the Swedish economy in the subsequent decades. Our findings show that Swedish policymakers in both cases consistently acted in order to promote the emergence of more competition and de novo entrant firms at the expense of established monopolies. The paper quantifies and documents this process while also highlighting several enabling conditions. In conclusion, the results indicate that successful innovation policy in mature economies is largely a matter of strategically dealing with resourceful vested interest groups, alignment of expectations, and removing resistance to industrial renewal.

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