Lemmergaard, Jeanette6; Sanchez Vidal, Ma Eugenia5
1 Faculty of Business and Social Sciences, SDU2 Department of Marketing & Management, Faculty of Business and Social Sciences, SDU3 Link.sdu, Department of Marketing & Management, Faculty of Business and Social Sciences, SDU4 Management of People, Department of Marketing & Management, Faculty of Business and Social Sciences, SDU5 Polytechnic University of Cartagena (Murcia)6 Management of People, Department of Marketing & Management, Faculty of Business and Social Sciences, SDU
Expatriates are increasingly recognized for their central role as knowledge-transfer agents. Traditionally expatriates were only sent out to control and coordinate activities, but in the knowledge economy international assignments are seen as a way of obtaining knowledge-transfer between organizational units. Or put differently, international assignments initiate knowledge management. Most of the knowledge acquired during a foreign assignment is however tacit and therefore difficult to codify and transfer in a systematic way. Moreover, research shows that many repatriates leave their employer within few years after their return. This means that the important international knowledge which has been acquired during the time of expatriation often is not assimilated by the organization. This paper discusses three important issues related to the issue of retaining knowledge. First,how the absorptive capacity of organizations restricts the organizations from seeing the value of the knowledge of the expatriates. Second, the disseminative capacity of the organizations. Finally, the paper discusses how channels of knowledge transfer can support knowledge resourcing to the benefit of both the expatiate and the organization.