Access the publisher's website Strategic Management Journal (forthcoming)
We study the processes through which multinational corporations (MNCs) identify and make use of external sources of knowledge. Based on a seven year longitudinal study of one MNC’s overseas scouting unit, we show how a simple one-directional “channelling” process gradually gave way to three higher value-added processes, labelled “translating”, “matchmaking” and “transforming”. Building on these insights, we develop an integrative framework, defining the conditions under which each of the four processes is likely to transpire, and showing how the stock of social capital held by the scouting unit allows it to perform increasingly high value-added activities over time. Implications for the MNC, external knowledge sourcing and boundary spanning literatures are discussed.