A repositioning organizational knowledge dynamics by functional upgrading and downgrading strategy in global value chain

Veronica Scuotto, Alexeis Garcia-Perez, Chiara Nespoli, Antonio Messeni Petruzzelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
120 Downloads (Pure)


Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are often marked by limited resources, a high dependence on others, and a scope of business that gets narrower as they seek to adapt to the current dynamic and knowledge-intensive context. Additionally, in their relationship with multinational enterprises (MNEs), SMEs are driven to a continuous specialization of their knowledge and technological resource bases. They so source global knowledge by positioning along a global value chain of those MNES. Especially SMEs employ a repositioning organizational knowledge dynamics by functional upgrading and downgrading strategy. In order to address the query on dynamic capabilities in knowledge management (KM) in different inter-organizational collaborations in the global value chain, this study shows that the choice between functional upgrading or downgrading can determine a more effective cross-innovation strategy which enables SMEs to exploit external paths to the market by revealing or selling their ideas, knowledge and technologies. Such strategies can reveal opportunities for SMEs to increase their network to find an optimum position in the market. SMEs, in turn, become more specialised in their offerings, moving up or down the global value chain, leveraging on a combination of dynamic and technological capabilities along with high degree of involvement in knowledge management process. This scenario is investigated through the study of 532 European knowledge-intensive SMEs via structural equation modelling. Hence, results offer relevant implications for policy-makers and SMEs managers in better employing the organizational ambidexterity for the repositioning strategy in the global value chain.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100795
JournalJournal of International Management
Issue number4
Early online date27 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

© 2020, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


  • Global value chain
  • Dynamic capabilities
  • SME
  • Knowledge management
  • Innovation Performance
  • Functional upgrading
  • Functional downgrading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Finance
  • Strategy and Management


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