Repatriate knowledge represents a valuable organizational resource, but its transfer upon return to the domestic work unit is a difficult process that often fails. To date, the leaders’ role in repatriate knowledge transfer (RKT) has not been studied empirically. This study employs the social information processing theory to understand the effect of empowering leadership on RKT. Based on multi-source data from 101 repatriate and domestic coworker dyads, we found that empowering leadership facilitated RKT via the perceived trustworthiness of domestic coworkers. Furthermore, the positive influence of empowering leaders on RKT was stronger when repatriate agreeableness was high. With our findings, we advance research on the role of leaders in cross-border knowledge transfer processes via repatriates in multinational companies.

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Keywords Empowering leadership, international assignment, repatriate agreeableness, repatriate knowledge transfer, social information processing theory
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Journal International Journal of Human Resource Management
Bucher, J. (Jana), Burmeister, A, Osland, J.S. (Joyce S.), & Deller, J. (Jürgen). (2020). The influence of empowering leadership on repatriate knowledge transfer: understanding mechanisms and boundary conditions. International Journal of Human Resource Management. doi:10.1080/09585192.2020.1771400