Organizational Learning in Multinational Companies: Explaining Inter-Organization Variation

Human Resource Management Journal, 2010

Posted: 23 May 2008 Last revised: 27 Nov 2009

See all articles by Anthony McDonnell

Anthony McDonnell

University of South Australia; Queen's University Management School

Patrick Gunnigle

University of Limerick - Kemmy Business School

Jonathan Lavelle

University of Limerick - Kemmy Business School

Abstract

This paper addresses the extent to which multinational companies (MNCs) in Ireland deploy practices aimed at the transfer of learning in their operations and the factors explaining inter-organisation variation in so-doing. Using data from 260 MNCs, we find that comparatively large numbers of firms deploy practices to transfer learning in their Irish operations. Most notably, we find almost half of all MNCs have a formal policy on OL, while more than six in every ten MNCs in Ireland utilise three or more learning transfer mechanisms. In investigating inter-organisation variation with respect to these, we test a number of hypotheses involving nationality, sectoral, MNC (e.g. organisation structure) and HR factors. Our results show that the presence of international HR structures are significant factors in explaining learning transfer in MNCs. We also find support that employment size, sector and integration between the MNC’s global operations are useful variables in explaining variation in the deployment of practices on learning transfer between MNCs.

Keywords: Multinational Company, Organisational Learning, Ireland, Knowledge, Learning, Human Resources

JEL Classification: M12

Suggested Citation

McDonnell, Anthony and Gunnigle, Patrick and Lavelle, Jonathan, Organizational Learning in Multinational Companies: Explaining Inter-Organization Variation. Human Resource Management Journal, 2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1136057

Anthony McDonnell (Contact Author)

University of South Australia ( email )

Australia

Queen's University Management School ( email )

25 University Square
Belfast, Northern Ireland BT7 1NN
Northern Ireland

Patrick Gunnigle

University of Limerick - Kemmy Business School ( email )

Limerick
Ireland
+353 61 202380 (Phone)
+353 61 338171 (Fax)

Jonathan Lavelle

University of Limerick - Kemmy Business School ( email )

Limerick
Ireland

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