Knowledge transfer within MNC hotel subsidiaries: An absorptive capacity perspective

Ringkar Situmorang, Arnold Japutra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


This study explores the process of transferring knowledge from multinational-corporation (MNC) hotels to their subsidiaries to advance company strategies. In particular, it examines critical factors that can forestall knowledge transfer through the lens of absorptive capacity. This study revisits the four dimensions of absorptive capacity (acquisition, assimilation, transformation, and exploitation) to understand the challenges involved in transferring knowledge from MNCs to subsidiaries. We argue that several fundamental aspects of the process influence absorptive capacity, potentially interfering with knowledge transfer. Using a qualitative approach, semi-structured interviews were conducted with four different types of actors (expatriate and local managers, a regional executive, and a policymaker). The results reveal that competencies (e.g. education) regulate the process of acquiring knowledge, while insufficient experience (technical skills and expertise) and historical background (explicitly related to the consequences of colonisation, including a local inferiority complex) affect the assimilation and transformation of knowledge. Next, limited opportunities, notably a reluctance to hire local managers and local managers with uneven qualifications, affect transformation and exploitation. Finally, cultural discord (e.g. recognising cultural differences, such as ethnic groups, religion, and customs) and communication barriers (e.g. verbal and non-verbal communications) influence the acquisition, assimilation, and transformation process, which, in the end, arbitrate knowledge exploitation. The findings suggest that the country's historical experience has considerable ramifications for absorptive capacity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104794
JournalTourism Management
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024


  • Absorptive capacity
  • Company strategy
  • Indonesia
  • Knowledge transfer
  • MNC hotel Subsidiaries


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