The role of prior experience and goal orientation in individual absorptive capacity

Adedapo Oluwaseyi Ojo, Murali Raman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - International joint ventures offer the appropriate platform for the host partners in an emerging economy to access the external knowledge embedded in the expatriate from foreign partners. However several factors could constrain the acquisition of this knowledge by the local employees who are engaged in the former. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the underlying differences for the individual's knowledge acquisition capability. Design/methodology/approach - Individual's knowledge acquisition capability was conceptualized as the individual dimension of absorptive capacity (ACAP). Given the engagement of employees in joint project teams, the team members are expected to differ in their experience and disposition to task. Thus, these differences are considered as predictors of the local team members ACAP, i.e., abilities to: recognize the value of; and assimilate the external knowledge embedded in the foreign partners. The hypothesized model was validated through the results of structural equation modeling on a cross sectional survey of 248 local team members of joint projects in the Nigerian upstream oil industry. Findings - All the hypothesized relationships were supported, with the exception of that between prior experience and ability to recognize the value of knowledge. Originality/value - This study offers empirical clarification on the underlying differences for individual ACAP within the context of asymmetric joint project teams set up to facilitate knowledge transfer. The findings have implications for academic and practical understanding on the role of individuals in the acquisition of external knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)723-739
Number of pages17
JournalIndustrial Management and Data Systems
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Emerald Group Publishing Limited.


  • Absorptive capacity
  • Emerging economies
  • Individual differences
  • International joint ventures
  • Joint project teams
  • Knowledge acquisition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Industrial relations
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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