Repatriate Knowledge Transfer

Project: Research

Project participants

  • Deller, Jürgen (Project manager, academic)
  • Osland, Joyce (Partner)
  • Oddou, Gary (Partner)
  • Blakeney, Roger (Partner)
  • California State University – San Marcos
Due to the strategic importance of organisational learning and knowledge transfer in a global economy, the knowledge that repatriates acquire during international assignments is a valuable resource available to the multinational firms (MNCs) who send them abroad. Few MNCs, however actively harvest this knowledge from their repatriates, even though the literature clearly identifies the types of knowledge and competencies gained in expatriate assignments. Scholars have likewise overlooked this aspect of the expatriation-repatriation cycle; only one empirical study has been published to date. Therefore, the purpose of this project is to test a model of repatriate knowledge transfer, based on an adaptation of communication theory, and to identify the facilitative and inhibiting factors of work. The first stage consists of 15 structured interviews with repatriates in three countries (Germany, Japan, and U.S.A.) for a total of 45 interviews. The second stage will consists of a survey administered to at least 100 repatriates from firms in two industries in each country for a quantitative sample of 300 participants. In Germany Infineon, Otto, SAP, and Volkswagen have already participated in the first phase of this study.
The study is conducted in a multinational research team of international scholars: Joyce Osland, Lucas Endowed Professor of Global Leadership at San Jose State University, Gary Oddou, California State University - San Marcos, and Roger Blakeney, University of Houston.