Unpacking Mixed Embedded Knowledge Structures: The Case of Returnee Entrepreneurs

Anh Truong, Yen Tran

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Returnee entrepreneurs are individuals who come back to their home countries to start their business after a number of years studying or working abroad (Wright et al., 2008, 2018; Filatotchev et al., 2011). Returnee entrepreneurship is an important channel for international knowledge transfer for emerging economies, besides from the traditional reliance on multinational companies (MNCs) via inter-firm knowledge transfer or repatriate channel. Prior studies have mainly treated knowledge in separation of the contextual and cognitive nature of the knowledge that actors possess. Taking the socio-cognitive perspective in international knowledge transfer (Ringberg and Reihlen, 2008), this paper examines returnee entrepreneurs’ knowledge structure that is embrained and embodied in returnee entrepreneurs when transferring it to their ventures. Adopting qualitative research design with 27 semi-structured interviews with 14 cases of returnee entrepreneurs in Vietnam - the paper found that returnee entrepreneurs’ knowledge structures consist of three well inter-related knowledge categories that are different in terms of their socio-cognitive level: visionary-institutional knowledge, contextual-heuristic knowledge, and professional knowledge. Findings also show that cognitive mixed-embeddedness is an idiosyncratic characteristic of returnee entrepreneurs’ knowledge structures. The paper suggested that unpacking returnees’ mixed-embedded knowledge structures could help explain the international knowledge spill over between home and host countries and the survival and growth of returnees’ ventures.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019
EventAcademy of International Business 2019 Annual Meeting - Copenhagen , Denmark
Duration: 24 Jun 201927 Jun 2019


ConferenceAcademy of International Business 2019 Annual Meeting
Internet address


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