Keywords: manufacturing capability, knowledge transfer, international management, mutual learning, computer manufacturing
The extraction of manufacturing capability: a case of sophisticated transferee
Research on international transfer of manufacturing capability has traditionally focused on the viewpoint of the 'transferor', where the recipient is usually less sophisticated. The nature of knowledge in the transferor is identified as the core determinant of the 'transferability' of capability, ideally independent of the host context. In this paper we consider the problem from the viewpoint of the 'transferee'; extracting the capability that it needs from a relatively passive transferor and feeding back knowledge in a mutual learning system. In such cases the 'knowledge transfer' metaphor breaks down. We illustrate this with a case study of a major US computer manufacturer transferring the capability of building its most complex server product to a European site. We discuss the implications of the case for the literature on knowledge transfer.