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Transferring Tacit Know-How: Do Opportunism Safeguards Matter for Firm Boundary Decisions?

Eapen, Alex; Krishnan, Rekha

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In recent years, scholars have demonstrated that capability theories of firm boundaries are fundamentally intertwined with contractual arguments. A productive use of capability arguments, therefore, is when they are joined with contractual ones in an integrated theory of the firm. However, contractual and capability scholars have traditionally held incommensurable views on the relevance of opportunism safeguards for a theory of the firm. Sponsors of the contractual view treat opportunism...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorEapen, Alex
dc.contributor.authorKrishnan, Rekha
dc.date.accessioned2020-07-08T02:49:32Z
dc.identifier.issn1047-7039
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/205927
dc.description.abstractIn recent years, scholars have demonstrated that capability theories of firm boundaries are fundamentally intertwined with contractual arguments. A productive use of capability arguments, therefore, is when they are joined with contractual ones in an integrated theory of the firm. However, contractual and capability scholars have traditionally held incommensurable views on the relevance of opportunism safeguards for a theory of the firm. Sponsors of the contractual view treat opportunism safeguards as fundamental, whereas several scholars in the knowledge-based strand of the capabilities camp consider it redundant. Moreover, in several recent integrative efforts, opportunism and safeguarding against it feature as linchpin theoretical ideas. To fully integrate contractual and capability theories, therefore, there is a need to resolve this point of incommensurability. We revisit a specific problem in the international strategy literature where the opportunism debate has been significant - the transfer of tacit know-how by multinational firms - and employ moderator-effect hypotheses to test two alternative mechanisms for why tacit know-how is transferred internally. We test whether tacit know-how is transferred internally to safeguard against opportunism or, alternatively, to avail the coordination benefits of common routines within firms. Our results indicate the former and not the latter, and thereby support a cornerstone notion in recent efforts toward an integrated theory of the firm.
dc.format.extent21 pages
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.publisherInstitute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS)
dc.rights© 2019 INFORMS
dc.sourceOrganization Science
dc.subjecttransaction costs, organizational economics, knowledge-based view, technology transfer, opportunism
dc.titleTransferring Tacit Know-How: Do Opportunism Safeguards Matter for Firm Boundary Decisions?
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume30
dcterms.dateAccepted2018-06-03
dc.date.issued2019-07
local.identifier.absfor159999 - Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services not elsewhere classified
local.identifier.ariespublicationu4868915xPUB167
local.identifier.ariespublicationu3102795xPUB4762
local.publisher.urlhttps://www.informs.org/
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationEapen, Alexander, College of Business and Economics, The Australian National University
local.contributor.affiliationKrishnan, Rekha, Simon Fraser University
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.identifier.essn1526-5455
local.bibliographicCitation.issue4
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage715
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage734
local.identifier.doi10.1287/orsc.2018.1236
dc.date.updated2020-03-08T07:21:37Z
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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