University of Sussex
Al Shoaili, Saoud Humaid.pdf (1.64 MB)

An examination of technology transfer and technological learning through intermediaries: the case of intermediaries in the Omani oil and gas sector

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posted on 2023-06-08, 23:16 authored by Saoud Humaid Al Shoaili
There is large body of research that has investigated inter-firm technology transfer and technological learning within direct producer-user relationships within the context of developing countries. However, due to the growth in the technology transfer market, there has also been an increasing tendency for users to become isolated from producers, as new actors have emerged, which have been named technology intermediaries. The motivation for this thesis is driven by the absence of both theoretical and empirical studies examining technology transfer and learning through intermediaries, particularly in emerging nation contexts, what factors influence the functions of intermediaries along the process, and how those factors influence the recipients’ learning. By learning from the technology transfer experiences of the two main users of technologies in the Omani oil and gas sector, namely Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), and Oman Liquefied Natural Gas (OLNG), this research tries to address this theoretical and empirical gap. Through semi-structured interviews, this study explored technological learning during the technology transfer through intermediaries from the perspective of 48 employees (Omani and expatriates) at different levels of hierarchy (managers, section heads/team leaders, site engineers) and from different departments across the two firms. The perspectives of those employees are supplemented by data such as annual reports, which also serves as important triangulation instruments to validate the data collected from respondents. Within-cases and cross-cases qualitative and interpretive content analysis was employed to analyse the empirical data gathered from the two firms. The empirical evidence identified five main factors that influence the functions of intermediaries along the transfer process. These are the proximity of intermediaries with users (geographical and cognitive), specialization of intermediaries (industrial or technological), characteristics of technologies (tacitness, complexity, newness), recipient firm’s absorptive capacity, and recipients firm’s technology strategy. A good understanding of these factors can increase the ability of firms to reap the maximum potential of inward technology transfer for local learning through intermediaries.


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University of Sussex

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