Knowledge worker mobility and knowledge management in MNEs: A bibliometric analysis and research agenda

João J. Ferreira, Cristina I. Fernandes, Ying Guo*, Hussain G. Rammal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The Resource-Based View suggests that for an organization to have a sustainable competitive advantage, the firm should have valuable, rare, inimitable resources and have the ability to exploit them. The Knowledge-Based View treats knowledge as an organizational resource, which resides in both the explicit and tacit knowledge held by organizations and their people. For MNEs, the tacit knowledge is transferred by the movement of knowledge workers, who take on a boundary-spanning role. However, this trend is in decline. With increasing barriers (formal and informal) to the movement of professionals, increased digitization, and Industry 4.0, the physical movement of professionals may not be required. This literature review maps the evolution of knowledge transfer by MNEs and the knowledge workers’ role. We classify the studies into six clusters related to mobility, the use of expatriates and knowledge transfer, knowledge spillover, transfer practice, relational learning, and knowledge management and post-acquisition integration. The article identifies gaps in the extant literature and sets an agenda for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)464-475
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Business Research
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • Bibliometrics
  • Employee mobility
  • Knowledge management
  • Knowledge worker
  • MNEs


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