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Title: Transfer of retail management know-how to China
Authors: Liu, Yaping Laura
Degree: Ph.D.
Issue Date: 2010
Abstract: China has witnessed an increasing presence by international retailers since the 1990s, most of which face the lack of qualified management staff when they operate in China, particularly when expanding the scale of operations in the country. In order to acquire the managerial skills necessary for competitiveness, local managers need to learn needed knowledge from their foreign parent because in transition economies such as China, foreign parent is normally a vital source of useful knowledge. The primary aim of this research is to utilize knowledge transfer theory to explore retail management know-how transfer from international retailers to their subsidiaries in China. The research objectives are five-fold: (1) to investigate the elements of retail management know-how that are effectively transferred from international retailers to their subsidiaries in China; (2) to examine two key factors, absorptive capacity of the subsidiaries and commitment of the foreign parent, that affect knowledge transfer effectiveness; (3) to develop measures of the associated constructs; (4) to examine the effect of knowledge transfer on business performance; (5) to examine possible moderating effects of ownership type and retail format on the relationships proposed in the model. In order to empirically test the proposed model, two methods were used to collect data; one was face-to-face interview survey, and the other web-based survey. The informants in this study were store managers and senior managers of foreign-owned retail establishments in China. The scale development procedures for the proposed constructs, particularly for retail management know-how, began with items, derived initially from an extensive literature review. Additional items were identified via in-depth interviews with seven store/senior managers of foreign-owned retail establishments in China. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was conducted to identify the factor structure of the scale for the constructs in the proposed model. Retail management know-how at this stage was found to be composed of two dimensions: strategic management know-how versus tactical program management know-how. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was then carried out to validate all the measurement models of concern here and acceptable model fit indices were achieved.
Causal studies were then conducted to examine the proposed structural model and related hypotheses. Due to the small sample size (N=89), it was decided to spilt the overall model into two submodels. One submodel describes the path relationships among absorptive capacity, knowledge transfer and performance, whereas the other incorporates the relationships among commitment, knowledge transfer and performance. The two submodels were assessed using structural equation model (SEM) technique. The statistical results support the conceptualization of absorptive capacity as a second-order measurement model since it has a better model fit than the first-order one. This is perhaps the most important finding since it indicates that both management staff{174}s ability to learn and organizational adaptability are necessary components of a firm{174}s absorptive capacity to optimally facilitate the transfer of retail management know-how from international retailers to their subsidiaries in China. The predicted second-order structure of commitment was also validated by the findings of this research, with management involvement and communication as its components. Positive impacts of absorptive capacity and commitment on knowledge transfer effectiveness were also confirmed. Moreover, the results show that subsidiaries that have effectively acquired strategic management know-how from their foreign parent performed better in terms of several marketing metrics such as market share, sales volume and profit. However, the influence of tactical program management know-how on business performance was found to be statistically insignificant. Finally, analysis of variance (ANOVA) indicates that there are no significant differences in knowledge transfer effectiveness across either ownership types of retail establishment, while business performance does not vary by retail format either.
Subjects: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Retail trade -- China
Retail trade -- Management
Pages: 238 p. : ill. ; 31 cm.
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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