Edited by John R. McIntyre, Silvester Ivanaj and Vera Ivanaj
Chapter 6: Multinationals and the Challenge of Sustainable Development: Knowledge in Cooperative Networks
Mohamed Bayad, Michaël Bénédic, Malek Bourguiba and Christophe Schmitt INTRODUCTION Sustainable development raises far-reaching questions about the traditional models of the growth and development of multinational corporations (MNCs). It also raises the issue of these corporations’ modes of operation and organization. As a result of their economic and geographical positioning, multinationals have major influence on the required changes and on the introduction of frameworks for international collective action (Godard and Hommel, 2005). This work proposes to reposition the multinationals within the more general economic framework of the knowledge-based economy. Subscribing to this conception of the organization means above all that MNCs must once again give priority to the way in which production is organized, rather than to the imperfections of the market (Cohendet and Llerena, 1999). In other words, this means that MNCs are tied to their organizational capacities over time. From this perspective, knowledge is an important and rare resource within multinationals. Therefore these corporations need to consider knowledge from the point of view of sustainable development, which means meeting the needs of the present without compromising their capacity to meet future needs. In effect, MNCs must not limit themselves to constructing or putting together knowledge, but must also select it and above all maintain it (Cohendet and Llerena, 1999). In relation to this questioning of traditional models, we focus more specifically on MNCs organized as cooperative networks. We think that this type of organization provides a favorable framework in which knowledge management, from the perspective...
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