Learning transfer in multinational companies: Explaining inter-organisation variation

A. McDonnell, P. Gunnigle, J. Lavelle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


This article addresses the extent to which multinational companies (MNCs) in Ireland deploy practices aimed at the transfer of learning in their operations and the factors explaining inter-organisation variation in so doing. Using data from 260 MNCs, we find that comparatively large numbers of firms deploy practices to transfer learning in their Irish operations. Most notably, we find that almost half of all MNCs have a formal policy on organisational learning, while more than six in every ten MNCs in Ireland utilise three or more learning transfer mechanisms. In investigating inter-organisation variation with respect to these, we test a number of hypotheses involving nationality, sectoral, MNC (e.g. organisation structure) and HR factors. Our results show that the presence of international HR structures is a significant factor in explaining learning transfer in MNCs. We also find support that employment size, sector and integration between the MNC's global operations are useful variables in explaining variation in the deployment of practices on learning transfer in MNCs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-43
Number of pages21
JournalHuman Resource Management Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2010


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