Articles from Here and There

Posted by Arjun Thomas

I came a cross a few interesting articles that i though might be of value to some of you out there… The first one is about “Asymmetry of Knowledge Spillovers Between MNCs and Host Country Firms” from INSEAD and the second on “Why commercial Wiki’s don’t work” from the CNN money website.

Asymmetry of Knowledge Spillovers Between MNCs and Host Country Firms

“Multinational companies (MNCs) invest abroad for many reasons, but invariably the quest for knowledge and information will be a part of the mix. In this paper, shortly to be published in the Journal of International Business Studies, Jasjit Singh, Assistant Professor of Strategy at INSEAD, uses patent citations from 30 countries to explore whether the flow of knowledge between a MNC and host country is one-sided, or if everybody wins.

Global economic growth is highly dependent on the diffusion of knowledge around the world, but it rarely comes in a form that can be easily transferred, such as a blueprint or an engineering diagram. Practical skills such as management, distribution and marketing know-how are just as important to growth.

To gain these tacit skills, many countries focus on attracting foreign direct investment, developing incentives intended to encourage multinational companies to establish subsidiaries and work with local companies. But while these local subsidiaries can be a significant source of knowledge for the host country, they also provide a very effective mechanism whereby the MNC can access host country technology. As a result, technologically advanced countries may fear that such subsidiaries gain significantly more than they contribute in terms of knowledge, and that foreign direct investment may come at a cost.”

Why commercial Wiki’s don’t work

“(Business 2.0 Magazine) — Nowadays, the all-powerful Web user, recently anointed as Time’s Person of the Year, is both creator and consumer of every last bit of content at some of the Web’s fastest-growing destinations. Witness the success of Flickr (the photo-sharing site), YouTube (the video-sharing site), Deli.cio.us (the bookmark-sharing site) and Wikipedia (the knowledge-sharing site).

This naturally has gotten a lot of large companies interested in the idea of outsourcing their content to the Web crowd, or “crowdsourcing.

At the beginning of February, for instance, Penguin Books – one of the biggest names in the global publishing industry – launched a month-long, publicity-soaked project that attempted to get Web surfers to create a novel. The idea seemed destined to belong in the Web 2.0 hall of fame (or shame), as the most audacious (or most arrogant) use of crowdsourcing ever.

And eighteen months ago, the L.A. Times started a Wiki to open up its editorial page content to user-editing. (Wiki software allows a lot of people to edit the same document simultaneously, as with Wikipedia’s encyclopedia entries). In January, Amazon (Charts) launched its “Amapedia” in a bid to create product pages that could one day replace, or at least enhance, Amazon’s product descriptions. Penguin opened up its Wiki novel at amillionpenguins.com in February.”

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