Inter-firm learning and knowledge-sharing in multinational networks: An outsourced organization's perspective

Samir Gupta, Michael Jay Polonsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


This research provides insights into how learning and knowledge are exchanged multinationally between customer firms and their outsourced suppliers who provide non-core, yet essential, services. The paper seeks to understand: (1) how information is exchanged in these networks; (2) how cumulative knowledge adds value in these networks; and (3) how boundary-spanners assist in the dissemination of knowledge and learning within the network. Based on a pharmaceutical industry case, the results suggest that: (a) multinational firms operate more effectively and interact by sharing knowledge with outsourced firms which reflect the customers structure and fit; (b) networked firms benefit from interactions through economies of scope, but knowledge is not necessarily shared equally among partners; (c) learning and knowledge-sharing interactions are tightly coupled at the product development stage; and (d) outsourced firms interact with external boundary-spanners as needed. The research provides insights for managers of multinational organizations and managers of firms from where essential services are outsourced.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)615 - 622
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Business Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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