Acquiring knowledge by foreign partners from international joint ventures in a transition economy: learning-by-doing and learning myopia


  • Eric W. K. Tsang

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Business Administration, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
    • School of Business Administration, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202, U.S.A.
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This paper proposes and tests a model of how firms acquire knowledge from their international joint venturing experience. Based on survey responses from 73 Singapore and 89 Hong Kong firms with respect to their joint ventures set up in China, the results indicate that both overseeing effort and management involvement are significant channels of knowledge acquisition. The former channel is more important for firms with a great deal of operational experience in China and for parents of older joint ventures. This finding indicates that firms improve their skills of knowledge acquisition through learning-by-doing. Moreover, the strategic importance of the venture concerned, instead of the learning intent of the parent, is the driving force behind the allocation of resources to the two channels. This implies that firms mainly learn through managing their key joint ventures. Since a venture that provides novel and fruitful learning experience may not, and need not, be an operation of great strategic importance, this finding suggests the existence of learning myopia. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.