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ABSTRACT

At the heart of any successful cross-cultural knowledge transfer effort lies an individual or group of individuals with the skills to manage a complex, ambiguous and often stressful process. The ability to manage the knowledge transfer process depends as much on learning in real time as it does on rational planning. Yet, few approaches to knowledge transfer have considered learning as a primary driver of success. In this article, we draw on new insights on how adults learn from experience in cross-cultural settings to understand the cross-cultural knowledge transfer process. We conceive cross-cultural knowledge transfer as a seven-stage process of learning and describe the essential competencies necessary for managing each of the seven stages. We draw on work with cross-cultural knowledge transfer efforts in a variety of industries and cultures to illustrate this process.