Repatriate Knowledge Transfer

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Deller  

Due to the strategic importance of organizational learning and knowledge transfer in a global economy, the knowledge that repatriates have acquired during international assignments is a valuable resource and seemingly readily available to the multinational companies (MNCs) who expatriated them. Few MNCs, however actively harvest this knowledge from their repatriates, even though the sparse literature identifies important types of knowledge and competencies gained in expatriate assignments. Scholars have likewise not focused this aspect of the expatriation-repatriation cycle; only limited empirical research has been conducted to date. Therefore, the purpose of this project is to advance the understanding of repatriate knowledge transfer.

Stage 1: Testing the repatriate knowledge transfer model

  •  ~ 45 structured interviews with repatriates in Germany, Japan, and the USA
  • Publication: Oddou, G., Szkudlarek, B., Osland, J., Deller, J., Blakeney, R., & Furuya, N. (2013). Repatriates as a source of competitive advantage: How to manage knowledge transfer. Organizational Dynamics, 42, 257–266. doi:10.1016/j.orgdyn.2013.07.003 

Stage 2: Validation of an instrument measuring repatriate knowledge transfer

  • Online survey with repatriates from Australia, China, Germany, and the USA
  • Status quo: Data collection until end of 2014

Stage 3: Identification of 'best practices' that support repatriate knowledge transfer

  • 30 semi-structured interviews with German repatriates (n=15) and HR managers (n=15)
  • Status quo: Data collection until end of September 2014

Stage 4: Quantitative measurement of variables (individual, dyadic, organizational) influencing repatriate knowledge transfer

  • Survey with repatriates and knowledge recipients at two measurment points
  • Status quo: Start of data collection in January 2015

Academic partners (in alphabetic order):

  • Roger Blakeney, University of Houston, Texas, USA
  • Gary Oddou, California State University - San Marcos, CA, USA
  • Joyce Osland, Lucas Endowed Professor of Global Leadership, College of Business, San José State University, San José, CA, USA
  • Betina Szkudlarek, University of Sydney, Queensland, Australia

 External Partners (in Germany):

  • Stage 1: Infineon, Otto, SAP, Volkswagen
  • Stage 2: RWE, Mondelez