The role of highly skilled migrants in the process of inter-firm knowledge transfer across borders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Loughborough University
  • Peking University
  • University of Leeds


Drawing on multiple case studies of Chinese highly skilled migrants working in the UK, we adopt an integrated approach that combines the contextualized explanation and processual approach to examine the role of individuals with a bilingual-bicultural background in the process of inter-firm international knowledge transfer (IKT). The findings reveal that the process is language and cultural dependent. Possessed with bilingual and bicultural competence, highly skilled migrants play a vital role at each stage of the knowledge transfer process between firms from their country-of-origin and from their adopted country, including identifying potential key contacts, relationship establishment and knowledge exchanges. The research advances existing IKT literature by bridging the analysis between a firm-level and individual-level of knowledge flows across borders, and by recognizing the impact of highly skilled migrants. © 2014.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-68
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of World Business
Issue number1
Early online date16 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015


  • Bilingual skills, Bicultural background, Highly skilled migrants, Knowledge transfer process, Inter-firm international knowledge transfer