Among traditional small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) internationalisation – and especially knowledge transfer and creation – have been researched little. That’s why the main research question now is: how knowledge transfer and creation influence on the internationalisation of subcontractors in metal industry? The sub questions are: 1) how does a social capital influence on knowledge transfer and creation, 2) how does a learning culture influence on knowledge transfer and creation, and 3) what are the ways in the knowledge transfer and creation, and how they influence on the internationalisation process. The study is based on social capital and learning culture. They influence on knowledge transfer and creation. The research method is a multiple case study (ten cases). The research was focused on three functions: production, product development and international marketing. The data was gathered through theme interviews, questionnaires and telephone/e-mail interviews. The research protocol was based on theoretical framework and thirteen working propositions. The results give strong support to seven working propositions. It can be concluded that: 1)the more contacts the staff have abroad the more knowledge will be transferred to the company, 2) serial transfer is common among the teams of the internationalised companies, 3) far transfer is uncommon and it has only slight influence on knowledge creation, 4) both expert transfer to the company and 5) versatile exchange of knowledge with foreign customers have a clear influence on the internationalisation. Also, 6) the more versatile and planned the knowledge creation in its production and 7) the more customer oriented and planned the knowledge creation in its product development is, the more successfully a company will internationalise. Internationalisation was promoted also by a good learning culture, knowledge exchange between foreign purchasing and exporting, active knowledge creation in production and near transfer of knowledge between teams. The investment in international marketing is also used, if the company has clear strategy to internationalise on new markets. Finally, Finnish subcontractors clearly internationalise using the geographic/cultural but not the operations stage model or the fast internationalisation pattern. A key finding is the identification of the subcontractors’ internationalisation strategies. The strategy is either to deepen their cooperation with customers (“relationship deepeners”) or to expand their markets and customer basis (“market expanders”). In both options the key functions of internationalisation are the development of products and production. Marketing is especially important to the market expanders.
|Translated title of the contribution||Tiedonsiirto ja -luonti metallialan osatoimittajien kansainvälistymisessä : lähtökohtina sosiaalinen pääoma ja oppimiskulttuuri|
|Publication status||Published - 2012|
|MoE publication type||G4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)|