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Ties that Bind: The Role of Ethnic Inventors in Multinational Enterprises’ Knowledge Creation

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30/9/2020

Ties that Bind: The Role of Ethnic Inventors in Multinational Enterprises’ Knowledge Creation | Academy of Management Proceedings

https://journals.aom.org/doi/abs/10.5465/AMBPP.2019.12100abstract

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Published online 1 August 2019 Published in print 1 August 2019

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AOM Annual Meeting Proceedings 2019 AOM Boston 2019 Free Access

Academy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings includes abstracts of all papers and symposia presented at the annual conference, plus 6-page abridged versions of the “Best Papers” accepted for inclusion in the program (approximately 10%). Papers published in the Proceedings are abridged because presenting papers at their full length could preclude subsequent journal publication. Please contact the author(s) directly for the full papers.

Ties that Bind: The Role of Ethnic Inventors in Multinational

Enterprises’ Knowledge Creation

Alba Marino, Ram Mudambi, Alessandra Perri and Vittoria Giada Scalera

Abstract

Multinational enterprises (MNEs) geographically distribute their research and development (R&D) activities to source foreign knowledge that is critical to feed the innovation process with valuable inputs developed in di erent locations, as well as to adapt their technology to new markets. However, literature suggests that, in spite of the establishment of foreign R&D subsidiaries in selected host-countries, MNEs face serious challenges in accomplishing these tasks. Building on international business and migration studies, we argue that ethnic inventors play a role in alleviating these challenges, by acting as a bridge between their countries of origin (CoO) and the MNE headquarters. Using USPTO data on global collaborative patents assigned to US-based MNEs operating in knowledge-intensive industries over the period 1975-2009, our empirical analysis shows that ethnic inventors from a given CoO foster the integration of knowledge emanating from that CoO in the intra-corporate innovation process. Further analyses demonstrate that this e ect is bounded to knowledge developed within the MNE, confirming the superior role of firms compared to external market mechanisms in the transfer of knowledge across borders. Finally, contrary to our theoretical predictions suggesting that ethnic inventors also play a role in facilitating the adaptation and exploitation of MNE’s technology in their CoO market, we find no significant evidence of such an e ect.

(2)

30/9/2020

Ties that Bind: The Role of Ethnic Inventors in Multinational Enterprises’ Knowledge Creation | Academy of Management Proceedings

https://journals.aom.org/doi/abs/10.5465/AMBPP.2019.12100abstract

2/2

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