The role of knowledge transference in the process of internationalisation: the case of the London Hilton

Czyzewska, Barbara (2016) The role of knowledge transference in the process of internationalisation: the case of the London Hilton. Doctoral thesis, University of West London.

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Abstract

The Twentieth Century’s hotel industry saw a shift from independently managed grand hotels to the increasing influence of multinational hotel companies whilst processes of globalisation contributed to the international movement of people, ideas and practices. The London Hilton was the first subsidiary of this American branded chain to open in Britain undergoing, at the time, cultural and social changes associated with the ‘Swinging Sixties’.

The history of grand hotels has been thoroughly documented however there is lack of business history research into the expansion process of modern multinational hotel companies. The aim of this study is to explore the process of internationalisation of Hilton Hotels through the transference of knowledge between the parent company and the London subsidiary. International business theory is investigated in pursuit of establishing relationships between the concepts of transference of knowledge, multiple-embeddedness and negotiation of legitimacy, collectively forming a conceptual framework driving this research.

A single embedded case study is adopted to comprehend the nuanced relationships and pressures resulting from the multiple-embeddedness of the case. An extensive range of archival material is collected to construct an in-depth case study of the London Hilton embedded in the contexts of its parent company as well as home and host countries. The case is synthesised with the theory using interpretive research methods and employing a three-stage coding process.

The London Hilton appears to be representative of a case of effective knowledge transference which avoided the pressure for homogenisation from the host environment. It is an example of an organisation whose foreignness served as a differentiating, rather than restraining factor. These findings contradict the traditional institutional assertion of the necessity for adaptation to local settings and confirm the notion that legitimacy can be negotiated. The appearance of the Hilton hotel on the 1960’s London hotel market can be perceived as an emblem of the wider historical changes in the globalising world.

The main contribution of this research is adding a new dimension to the paradigms of institutionalism and the resource-based view by illuminating the complex associations between these concepts underpinning international business theories. The study also extends the existing theory of foreignness and contributes to the body of business history research in the field of hotel management. It recommends the application of oral history and network analysis for further exploration of these concepts.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Internationalisation, Knowledge Transference, Foreignness, Multinational Hotel Company
Subjects: Hospitality and tourism > Hospitality
Hospitality and tourism > Hospitality > Hotel management
Depositing User: Dominic Walker
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2016 13:45
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2016 13:45
URI: http://repository.uwl.ac.uk/id/eprint/2991

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