The Globalization of Indian Firms from Steel to Software
Chapter 4: Knowledge Transfer via Apprenticeship in Indian Manufacturing Firms: Stages I and II
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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