The transfer of knowledge and the retention of expertise: the continuing need for global assignments

Abstract of Research Paper

With ongoing globalisation, organisations are increasingly confronted with worldwide competition. In order to build and sustain their competitive advantage, the knowledge and expertise of an organisation's staff needs to be seen as a critical strategic resource. This paper presents a general overview of knowledge management and discusses the transfer of knowledge and expertise throughout organisations operating on a global scale. A particular emphasis is placed on the importance of global assignments in transferring knowledge and furthermore on the implications for HRM practices to ensure the successful and effective retention of expertise. Practical examples are presented from Robert Bosch AG, a German multinational organisation and its Australian subsidiary. In this paper, the term ``expatriate'' is used, however the importance of host country nationals as well as third country nationals should not be ignored in the effective transfer of knowledge and the retention of expertise.

Published in Journal of Knowledge Management Volume 4 . Number 2 . 2000 . pp. 125±137