Multinational Intellect: The Synergistic Power of Cross Cultural Knowledge Networks

Multinational Intellect: The Synergistic Power of Cross Cultural Knowledge Networks

Leslie Gadman (London South Bank University, UK) and Robert Richardson (Mental Health Associates, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-679-2.ch003
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The world of international business is experiencing transformations of such magnitude that existing business models have become either invalid of incomplete. A fundamental force behind these disruptions has been the emergence of the digital networked economy (Ridderstrale and Nordstrom 2004, Flores and Spinosa, 1998) with its supporting internet and communications technology. One significant manifestation of this economy is the emergence of business models designed to gain competitive advantage by bonding with customers, suppliers and complementors (Wilde and Hax 2001). From the multinational perspective outsourcing and off - shoring have been the most common examples of this approach, but user lead innovation models (von Hippel 2005) based on Open Source methods are rapidly emerging as the leading source of competitive advantage. Commitment has been argued to play an important role in determining the success of these relationships (Abrahamsson and Livari, 2002) suggesting that entrepreneurs must be adept at building and maintaining commitment based value networks (Allee 2004, Sveiby and Roland 2002, Savage 1996, Gadman 1996, Adams 2004). This paper considers the challenges associated with commitment in multinational value networking and finds them to be most problematic in the diffusion of innovation where increasing levels of commitment are required across national boundaries and cultures. (Mauer, Rai and Sali 2004). Current research into core commitment structures of virtual multinational communities is not been well established. By analyzing data from a range of sources the paper concludes that the success of value networks depends on the desire of participants to acquire history - making identities (Gauntlett 2002, Spinosa et al. 1997) by maintaining identity defining commitments across the network. Implications for theory and research are discussed.
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Identity Building And Architectures Of Commitment

According to Adams (2004) the internet is revolutionary not because of the great search engines and enormous library of interconnected information but because it's two-way communications technology allows large numbers of people to interact to satisfy concerns. Indeed commitment can be viewed as a state of attachment that defines the relationship between an actor and an entity (O’Reilly and Chatman 1986). The quality of this attachment can be measured by the strength of the commitments generated as one actor, group or organization of actors delivers results to another actor, group or organization in such a way that there can be agreement that their concerns were satisfied (Winograd and Flores 1987; Flores and Spinosa 1998). The relationship can be viewed in terms of focus and strength (Brown 1996), durability (Abrahamsson 2001) and component type (Meyer and Allen 1991). These six aspects are common to all commitments. Table 1 briefly describes these six aspects of commitment.

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