The knowledge-based-view of the firm identifies knowledge as a resource with at least as much importance as capital (Grant 1996). Many have argued that a key asset for global firms is the knowledge they are able to gain from the diversity of environments in which they operate (Bartlett 1987; Ghoshal 1987). However, previous research has also identified the additional challenges that global firms and global projects encounter. These projects frequently bring together diverse participants in an unfamiliar environment. In these situations, firms are exposed to different "institutions" (regulations, norms and cultural beliefs) that can increase project costs and durations and damage reputations and relations (Orr 2005; Orr and Scott 2008). Recognizing that challenges exist for firms who operate globally due to these differences, we are conducting exploratory research on the types of knowledge that global real estate developers, contractors and engineers feel are important for global projects and how they are able to mobilize this knowledge for their global projects. In future work we plan to elaborate and expand this research to account further for knowledge type, firm type and project phase. Ultimately, this research, combined with the work of others, can develop new processes for firms engaged in international projects to enhance their mobilization of knowledge, and thereby improve the outcomes of global projects.
Javernick-Will, A., Levitt, R., and Scott, R. (2008). “Mobilizing Knowledge for International Projects.” Specialty Conference on Leadership and Management in Construction. South Lake Tahoe, CA. Best Paper Award