Title: The impact of trust and formal control on interfirm knowledge transfer: an exploration of the micro-level foundations

Authors: Alexander Vos de Wael, Dries Faems

Addresses: University of Twente, Drienerlolaan 5, 7522 NB, Enschede, The Netherlands. ' University of Twente, Drienerlolaan 5, 7522 NB, Enschede, The Netherlands

Abstract: Whereas previous alliance research has mainly focused on examining the macro-level relationships between trust, formal control and knowledge transfer, this study explores how micro-level interactions intermediate the impact of trust and formal control on interfirm knowledge transfer success. Based on a case study of two corporate investment relationships that are embedded in the same technological setting, we observe that combinations of high (low) initial trust and low (high) initial formal control are likely to trigger micro-level interactions such as unstructured (structured) technological knowledge exchange, negative (positive) managerial gatekeeping and limited (extensive) joint sensemaking. These micro-level interactions subsequently lead to low (high) levels of knowledge transfer success and negative (positive) trust and control dynamics at the macro-level. In this way, our study contributes to the emergence of a multi-level perspective on knowledge governance in which macro-level variables and micro-level interactions are linked to each other.

Keywords: trust; formal control; interfirm knowledge transfer; micro-level interactions; knowledge governance; strategic business alliances; corporate investment; knowledge exchange; managerial gatekeeping; sensemaking.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSBA.2011.038134

International Journal of Strategic Business Alliances, 2011 Vol.2 No.1/2, pp.69 - 90

Available online: 18 Jan 2011 *

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