Moderating Effects of Transforming High-Potential Local Employees for Reverse Adaptation, through the Lens of Absorptive Capacity: The Case of Hi Tech in Egypt

  •  Said Shabban Abdo    
  •  David Edgar    
  •  Gamal Kamel    


The purpose of this research is to provide new insights into the moderating effects that enable an MNE operating in Egypt to learn to attract, motivate, transform and develop its high-potential local employees for reverse adaptation so as to fit a global mind-set elsewhere in the organisation’s global positions. The methodology uses semi-structured story-based interviews to explore the significance of moderating effects and practices of absorptive capacity and reverse adaptation in Hi Tech in Egypt. The findings reveal the interrelated components that lead to reverse adaptation and how continuous management development is intermediated by learning and well-bonded reciprocity of relationships, amid continuous management development, transformation, and reverse adaptation. This virtuous cycle acts as an integrated adaptation learning loop that supports the process of transformation. The findings refute the linearity of the absorptive capacity model as the transformation stage does not appear to mediate the model but precedes other steps within it. Moreover, it was concluded that the model did not end in achieving the competitive advantage phase. Instead reverse adaptation, as a by-product, acted as a trigger for knowledge acquisition. The originality here is based on a greater understanding of the moderating effects that mediate the relationship between reverse adaptation and the transformation stage of absorptive capacity theory. This allows awareness of how, in the case of the Hi Tech in Egypt, the global mindset is delivered and offers valuable contributions to theory and practice. As reverse adaptation is a nascent multidisciplinary phenomenon for research, the paper also suggests a research agenda for researchers in the area of international management.

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