Title: 'Learning' or 'coercive' firms? Foreign investment, restructuring transforming economies and the case of ABB Poland

Authors: Jane Hardy

Addresses: Business School, University of Hertfordshire, College Lane, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL10 9AB, UK

Abstract: Literature on the learning firm in the context of the knowledge economy predicts that benefits will be derived from local clustering, and that there will be more consensual and enriching work within firms. This article critically examines the concept of the learning firm in the context of foreign direct investment in Central and Eastern Europe, and Poland in particular. It examines the way in which firms access knowledge both through external networks and internal reorganisation. The case study of Asea Brown Boveri|s (ABB) brownfield investment in Poland is used to interrogate the notion of learning in the context of crossing national boundaries. The conclusion drawn from the literature and the case study is that tacit knowledge elicited from localities is strategic and selective. Learning through internal restructuring is much more to do with coercion from internal competition than consensual relations within the firms.

Keywords: Asea Brown Boveri; ABB; foreign investment; Poland; learning organisations; knowledge access; foreign direct investment; FDI; external networks; internal reorganisation; tacit knowledge; transition economies; knowledge economy.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMCP.2007.015002

International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy, 2007 Vol.2 No.3, pp.277 - 297

Published online: 30 Aug 2007 *

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