Leveraging Knowledge and Competencies across Space: The Next Frontier in International Business

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Multinational enterprises (MNEs) are networked firms whose subsidiaries act as nodes embedded in a variety of local contexts. This allows them to tap into many local systems of innovation to access diverse knowledge bases and integrate them to create new competencies. Currently technology is altering our conception of space and forcing us to recognize that it is a multi-dimensional concept, incorporating geographic space, technological space and personal network space. At the corporate level, MNE managers need to understand comparative strategic management, constantly looking arbitrage opportunities that arise due to differences in resources, capabilities and institutions across the local contexts. At the level of functional level, in order for the MNE to integrate knowledge from diverse geographic locations, managers must recognize that valuable knowledge resides in invisible communities of practice where narrow technological specializations, personal connections and information sharing are critical means of access.

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