Towards an Anthropology of Globalization
Edited by Subhabrata Bobby Banerjee, Vanessa C.M. Chio and Raza Mir
Chapter 5: (How) Does Knowledge Flow? A Critical Analysis of Intra-Organization Knowledge Transfer
5. (How) Does knowledge ﬂow? A critical analysis of intraorganizational knowledge transfer Raza Mir, Subhabrata Bobby Banerjee and Ali Mir In this chapter, we argue that the discourse of knowledge transfer in organizational studies fails to record the manner in which this transfer is implicated in the historical experiences of power diﬀerences and economic imbalances that undergird the international encounter. The chapter draws on an empirical study of several months conducted by the ﬁrst author in India, an ethnographic examination of the work practices of the subsidiary of a large US-based multinational corporation (MNC), which we have named Chloron Corporation.1 This chapter is a story of our attempts to make sense of the sea of data collected during this endeavor, through the analysis of a single episode of knowledge transfer. The rest of this chapter is organized in three sections. In the ﬁrst, we critically survey the representations of knowledge transfer in organizational research. We then present empirical research conducted at Chloron, to highlight the complete disjuncture between the theoretical descriptions of knowledge transfer and the empirical realities of corporate experience. In the ﬁnal section, we theoretically analyze the research vignette to arrive at a diﬀerent approach to knowledge transfer than that of mainstream research. KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER AND ORGANIZATIONAL RESEARCH: A CRITICAL ASSESSMENT The notion of organizational knowledge continues to be avidly researched in organizational theory (Coﬀ, 2003; Rico et al., 2008; Sutcliﬀe and Weber, 2003). Of particular and continuing interest to organizational theorists is the study...
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