Knowledge Transfer across Boundaries

Knowledge transfer. Illustration
PhD Defense

9 August 2019 10:25

Knowledge Transfer across Boundaries

On Friday 23 August 2019 Xinlu Qiu will hold a trial lecture on a prescribed topic and defend her thesis for the PhD degree at NHH.

Xinlu Qiu
Xinlu Qiu.

Prescribed topic for the trial lecture:

How does firm/or geographical boundaries matter for knowledge transfer among individuals?

Following subquestions:

1a) Why and how do firm and/or geographic boundaries affect organizational knowledge transfer?

1b) What do we know and what do we not know about it and what does theory suggest?  

1c) How do individuals influence/affect/facilitate/knowledge transfer across firm and/or geographic boundaries?

Trial lecture:

10:15 in TBA, NHH

Title of the thesis:

Knowledge Transfer across Boundaries: Studies on the role of indviduals regarding knowledge transfer and innovation


The purpose of this dissertation is to address the role of individuals and individual characteristics in transferring knowledge across both firm boundaries and geographical boundaries. The dissertation is organized in four articles.

The first article applies theory of mind in studying knowledge transfer in strategic alliances. The study emphasizes boundary spanners’ individual characteristics in promoting learning and knowledge transfer across firm boundaries. The perspective applied here broaden our understanding of how firms can manage alliances to successfully realize the advantages of learning and knowledge transfer and avoiding unintended knowledge leakage.

The second article study how boundary spanners focus on promoting positive outcomes versus preventing negative outcomes may affect knowledge transfer and knowledge leakage in strategic alliances. Empirical analyses of 142 strategic alliances show that both boundary spanner’s promotion focus, and perceived trustworthiness of partner firm have direct positive effects on tacit knowledge transfer. Furthermore, the interaction of prevention focus and trustworthiness increases transfer of tacit knowledge and reduces knowledge leakage.

Article three explores how firms achieve competitiveness by implementing design-driven innovation. Using a dataset spanning 40 years (1976-2015) of design patents by both Norwegian firms and inventors in the Norwegian furniture industry, the article finds that leading firms and their star inventors are less likely to collaborate internationally. The fourth article proposes that firms can achieve connectivity with organizational pipelines and star designers’ personal linkages. The findings show that design innovation shows different patterns in traditional and high-tech industries. In traditional design sectors, greater orchestration and innovative capability assists firms in sourcing knowledge globally, while star designers tend to collaborate locally.


12:15 in TBA, NHH

Members of the evaluation committee:

Professor Kirsten Foss (leader of the committee), Department of Strategy and Management, NHH

Professor Randi Lunnan, BI

Associate Professor Andreas Schotter, Ivey Business School, Canada


Professor Sven Arne Haugland (main supervisor), Department of Strategy and Management, NHH

Professor Aksel Ivar Rokkan, Department of Strategy and Management, NHH

Professor Ram Mudambi, Temple University (US)

The trial lecture and thesis defence will be open to the public.