This study examines the determinants and difficulties of knowledge transfer in multinational companies. Despite the fact that different cultural and social contexts have a major impact on the transfer of knowledge, many previous studies "give the impression that knowledge management operates in a kind of unitary vacuum, in which diversity in terms of language, cultural and ethnic background, gender and professional affiliation are compressed into one giant independent variable" (Holden, 2002). This study focuses on the concept of "absorptive capacity" and analyzes how it is influenced by cultural and social context factors. It further shows the theoretical and practical limitations of the concept and tries to expand and improve on it. The theoretical argument is illustrated by case studies from Japanese multinational companies. Finally, the managerial implications will be discussed.
CV: Toshikazu TAKAHASHI, PhD Candidate at Rikkyo University, Tokyo.