University of Oulu

Ahokangas, P., Haapanen, L., Golgeci, I., Arslan, A., Khan, Z., & Kontkanen, M. (2022). Knowledge sharing dynamics in international subcontracting arrangements: The case of Finnish high-tech SMEs. Journal of International Management, 28(1), 100888.

Knowledge sharing dynamics in international subcontracting arrangements : the case of Finnish high-tech SMEs

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Author: Ahokangas, Petri1; Haapanen, Lauri2; Golgeci, Ismail3;
Organizations: 1Martti Ahtisaari Institute, Oulu Business School, University of Oulu, Finland
2Department of Marketing, Management & International Business, Oulu Business School, University of Oulu, Finland
3Department of Business Development and Technology, Aarhus University, Denmark
4Business School, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom
5School of Marketing and Communications, University of Vaasa, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-03-09


This paper focuses on an under-researched topic of knowledge sharing dynamics in international subcontracting relationships of SMEs. Based on in-depth qualitative analysis of three Finnish high-tech firms, our findings reveal that not only cost and performance expectations motivate SMEs for international subcontracting, but also the factors like lack of in-house alternatives, the volatility of workload, and need for speed in growth-related activities such as deliveries play an important role. We further found that the SMEs try to balance internal risks/uncertainty and external risks/uncertainty throughout international subcontracting. Our paper contributes to the extant literature by being one of the first studies to specifically highlight the range of knowledge sharing and knowledge protection mechanisms used in international subcontracting in SME-SME relationships in which partners come from different institutional settings and physical locations. Moreover, this paper is one of the few studies to specifically highlight the role of time in knowledge sharing from the buyer’s point of view as well, specifically by emphasizing the need to balance the internal and external risks during the life-cycle of international subcontracting while balancing short-term challenges and long-term strategic development plans.

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Series: Journal of international management
ISSN: 1075-4253
ISSN-E: 1873-0620
ISSN-L: 1075-4253
Volume: 28
Issue: 1
Article number: 100888
DOI: 10.1016/j.intman.2021.100888
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 512 Business and management
Copyright information: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (