Title: When transnational learning theory met business group-level organisational learning: evidence from globalised Korean chaebols

Authors: Jeoung Yul Lee

Addresses: School of Business Management, Hongik University, Sejong 30016, South Korea; Leeds University Business School, The University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK

Abstract: This study empirically explores globally linked learning and locally leveraged learning within Korean business groups, called chaebols, as the two dimensions of transnational learning. This study used global organisational learning theory as the basis for understanding transnational social learning structures (TSLSs) in the context of a group-level, knowledge-network phenomenon. The sample in this study, which included companies from 55 chaebols, consisted of 217 multinational group-affiliated companies (MGACs) and their 894 foreign sales subsidiaries and 1,128 manufacturing subsidiaries. Our findings suggested that there is a relatively influential difference between globally linked learning and locally leveraged learning for both foreign sales subsidiaries and foreign manufacturing subsidiaries. In sum, locally-leveraged learning among peer MGACs had a much more significant effect on the performance of sales subsidiaries than did globally-linked learning. Interestingly, just the opposite was true for the effect of the two types of learning on the performance of manufacturing subsidiaries, with globally-linked learning having greater influence than locally-leveraged learning. Additionally, for the performances of both foreign sales subsidiaries and foreign manufacturing subsidiaries, an important synergistic effect was observed between globally-linked learning and locally-leveraged learning within the chaebol.

Keywords: globally linked learning; locally leveraged learning; transnational social learning structure; TSLS; multinational group-affiliated company; MGAC; chaebols; business groups; organisational learning; South Korea; transnational learning; foreign sales subsidiaries; manufacturing subsidiaries.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMCS.2016.081129

International Journal of Multinational Corporation Strategy, 2016 Vol.1 No.3/4, pp.288 - 312

Received: 04 Oct 2016
Accepted: 04 Oct 2016

Published online: 23 Dec 2016 *

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