Reverse Knowledge Transfer from overseas Acquisitions: A survey of Indian MNEs

Smitha R. Nair, Mehmet Demirbag, Kamel Mellahi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)


In this paper, we examine the effects of subsidiary level factors on reverse knowledge transfer (RKT) in MNEs from the emerging market of India (EM-MNEs). We argue that subsidiary level competencies and capabilities play a vital role in persuading the parent EM-MNEs to initiate the RKT in their attempt to overcome the disadvantages they have. The competency levels of the subsidiary have been captured in terms of the role that the subsidiary has in the network and its host country endowments. In addition, RKT requires the subsidiary units to collaborate closely with the parent EM-MNEs and is also dependent on the extent of complexity of this knowledge. The study involves a survey of MNEs from the emerging market of India with overseas acquisitions. We develop a set of hypotheses and test them with the data using OLS regression. Results show that higher levels of collaboration facilitate RKT to the parent firm, and this effect is more prominent in high technology and knowledge intensive industries. Also, subsidiaries that hail from host countries with a higher competitive index compared to India and those that perform the role of specialised contributors contribute more towards RKT. In addition, a higher level of knowledge complexity leads to a greater extent of RKT.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-301
JournalManagement International Review
Issue number2
Early online date25 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


  • Reverse knowledge transfer
  • Emerging market multinationals
  • Subsidiary role
  • Collaboration
  • Subsidiary competence
  • India

Cite this