Questioning western knowledge transfer methodologies: Toward a reciprocal and intercultural transfer of knowledge

Dolores Sanchez Bengoa, Hans Ruediger Kaufmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


The rapid development of western European knowledge-based societies has a drastic effect on the development of eastern European societies. Special attention should be paid to the past three years of economic crisis, where a shift of existing economic paradigms has occurred. In order to navigate through these turbulent times, many companies, as an option to survive or expand, have formed cross-border alliances and cooperations. Due to these cross-border initiatives, the geographic movement of employees and, implicitly, the flow of intellectual capital, play an important role. Paradoxically, however, the process of knowledge transfer has been affected by several shortcomings, for example, the knowledge receiver's lack of absorptive capacity or cognitive learning, a knowledge applicability gap, or the rise of knowledge sharing barriers. The reason for this situation lies in the flawed knowledge transfer process. This approach is characterized by a unidirectional flow of knowledge from the West, reflecting an ethnocentric approach; inappropriate attitudes on behalf of the knowledge transmitter and the knowledge receiver; by knowledge not being culturally embedded, which leads to an alienation of knowledge; and, finally, to a lack of cultural awareness and preparedness on behalf of the westerners. This article applies a phenomenological approach. By using grounded theory, it contributes to a better understanding of the complexity of the problems and its implications on management from a multidisciplinary perspective. It provides solutions to improve the knowledge transfer process between eastern and western European cooperations based on an intercultural and reciprocal methodology and a new conducive learning environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-26
Number of pages16
JournalThunderbird International Business Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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