Knowledge, Organizational Evolution, and Market Creation
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Knowledge, Organizational Evolution, and Market Creation

The Globalization of Indian Firms from Steel to Software

Gita Sud de Surie

Knowledge, Organizational Evolution, and Market Creation documents the emergence of the Indian multinational by looking at data from firms in the ‘old’ economy, such as those in manufacturing, steel-making, automotive components and heavy machinery and the ‘new economy’ such as software and biotechnology. The author provides insights on knowledge transfer, innovation and capability building processes through in-depth case studies in these industries and suggests that both entrepreneurship and distributed innovation are critical for the growth of firms globally.
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Chapter 4: Knowledge Transfer via Apprenticeship in Indian Manufacturing Firms: Stages I and II

Gita Sud de Surie


4. Knowledge transfer via apprenticeship in Indian manufacturing firms: Stages I and II This chapter presents evidence on the first two stages of globalization from three longitudinal case studies of technology transfer projects. These studies were replicated in seven other firms. The first phase of the study from 1993–96 focused on knowledge transfer. The second phase (1999–2000) of the study focused on institutionalizing learning. The first case, Earthmovers, a construction equipment firm, was selected because of its previous collaboration with a US supplier to manufacture mechanical excavators in the 1960s and 1970s. In the mid-1980s, Earthmovers entered a technical collaboration with a Japanese supplier to upgrade its technology and produce hydraulic excavators to compete with domestic and international manufacturers. Transfer through arms’ length collaboration suggested that establishing a community of practice could be difficult, despite prior experience with technology transfer. The second case, Bearings, Inc., provides an example of transfer by joint venture between a leading Indian steel company and a premier US bearings manufacturer. Difficulties in establishing a community of practice were anticipated for two reasons: (1) the foreign partner’s desire to protect proprietary technology was expected to inhibit practice and knowledgesharing; (2) the US partner’s lack of prior experience in the new context was likely to lead to the replication of established routines with little attempt to adapt to the new context (Kogut and Zander, 1996). The third firm, Steelworks, the oldest steel company in India, established in 1907, was also selected for its...

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