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Knowledge Sharing Across Borders - A Study in the IKEA World

By Anna Jonsson


To enter new markets is not easy. The most obvious challenge, at least judging from the majority of literature on internationalization, is to understand the new market thus taking a market(ing) perspective. External aspects of internationalization are often stressed, while internal aspects, focusing on why organizations fail, are less developed or examined. In order to better understand the internationalization process it is crucial to examine how firms learn from their experiences of entering international markets. If we are to understand the impact and implications of why some firms succeed while others fail when entering international markets, the issue of knowledge sharing is essential. “Knowledge sharing across borders – a study in the IKEA world” aims to develop our understanding of internationalization by focusing on knowledge sharing in terms of knowledge types and flows in international firms when entering new markets. Special emphasis is put on the interaction between different levels and functions within an international retail firm. The focus is on IKEA’s experiences from entering Russia, China and Japan but also on how and why knowledge sharing is important for the international expansion of IKEA. It is illustrated that it is important to understand different knowledge types and how knowledge flows within the organization, both in order to support a market entry but also the ongoing activities of internationalization. Furthermore, it is illustrated that, when focusing on knowledge sharing, differences between industries becomes less evident. As such, this research contributes to the ongoing debate concerning the peculiarities of international retailing and whether or not it is possible to apply general internationalization theories to a retail context

Topics: Business Administration, global strategy, experiential knowledge, IKEA, internationalization, case study, knowledge flows, knowledge sharing, MNC, retail industry
Publisher: Lund University School of Economics and Management, LUSEM
Year: 2007
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