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Procedural justice, not absorptive capacity, matters in multinational enterprise ICT transfers

Verbeke, A., Bachor, V. and Nguyen, B. (2013) Procedural justice, not absorptive capacity, matters in multinational enterprise ICT transfers. Management International Review, 53 (4). pp. 535-554. ISSN 1861-8901

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s11575-012-0156-x


This paper empirically tests the effectiveness of information and communications technology (ICT) knowledge transfer and adoption in the multinational enterprise (MNE) as an issue of critical importance to contemporary MNE functioning. In contrast to mainstream thinking on absorptive capacity, but in line with prevailing international business theory, our research supports the proposition that perceptions of procedural justice, rather than absorptive capacity, determine effectiveness, especially in cases of high tacit knowledge transfers. Data was collected from senior ICT representatives in 86 Canadian subsidiaries of foreign owned MNEs. Each of these subsidiaries recently experienced a significant ICT transfer imposed by the parent organization. Support was found for the main propositions: Procedural justice significantly predicted successful ICT transfer and adoption, while absorptive capacity was not significant. These findings are consistent even when knowledge tacitness was high. The perceived success of the ICT transfer as well as its adoption varied widely across these firms. The potential reasons for this divergence in effectiveness are manifold, but our findings suggest that in situations of substantial knowledge tacitness, a higher level of procedural justice, rather than a higher level of absorptive capacity, is critical to effective transfer and adoption.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Henley Business School > International Business and Strategy
ID Code:43930

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