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Examining how Knowledge Recombination between Native High-Skilled and Immigrant High-Skilled Workers produce Innovative Outcomes for the Organizations: The Moderating Roles of Knowledge Sharing Competencies and Social Processes (RDF23/LHRM/ALI1)

   Faculty of Business and Law

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  Dr Imran Ali, Dr Mahmood Shah  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Innovation plays a pivotal role for organizations to create and maintain a competitive advantage over rivals (Taghizadeh et al., 2018; and Xiao et al., 2022). Innovations allow organizations introduce new products and services (Edwin et al., 2006; and Shane & Venkatraman, 2000), improve capabilities (Lavie, 2006), and to adapt themselves to the changing market conditions (Anderson & Tushman, 1990). However, fostering innovation is quite challenging for organizations (Katila & Shane, 2005; Gregoire & Shepherd, 2012). Existing literature offers numerous perspectives towards such as resource-based (Arend, et al., 2014; Terziovski, 2010), dynamic capabilities (Eisenhardt & Martin, 2000), and knowledge-based views (Kogut & Zander, 1992).

Drawing from knowledge-based view of innovation, the current research proposes the role of knowledge recombination to promote innovation outcomes for organizations. Knowledge recombination has gained tremendous attention of scholarly and practice community in the last few years (Luo et al., 2021; Xiao et al., 2022). The notion of knowledge recombination originates from Schumpeter’s (1939:88) views that “innovation combines components in a new way, or that it consists in carrying out new combinations”. Research suggests that implicit knowledge is more important than explicit knowledge, and implicit knowledge resides among individuals. Therefore, it is inevitable for organizations to hire employees with superior knowledge profiles who can contribute significantly towards exploring and exploiting their knowledge resources (knowledge recombination). Organizations, therefore, strive their best to develop a diverse workforce including high-skilled immigrant workers who can contribute significantly towards knowledge resources within the organizations. Immigrant workers use their unique and diverse knowledge to foster divergent thinking, and innovation within organizations (Choudhury et al., 2022). The knowledge spill over between high-skilled native and high-skilled immigrant workers can produce critically substantially important and unique knowledge recombination to produce innovative outcomes for the organizations. The inclusion of high-skilled immigrant workers is not only encouraged by the organisations but also by the governments to foster innovation and growth by using their innovative knowledge resources (Florida 2002; Glaeser 2004).

The current research project intends to examine how knowledge spill over between native high-skilled workers and immigrant high-skilled workers results in knowledge recombination to produce innovative outcomes for the host country organizations. The study will also examine the role of knowledge sharing competencies and social processes to augment knowledge recombination. The data will be collected from native high-skilled and immigrant high-skilled employees working in different organizations in the UK. The study will use mix methods technique including quantitative approach (survey based), and qualitative approach (in-depth interviews) to collect data from dyads i.e., host country high-skilled workers and immigrant high-skilled workers. The potential statistical techniques include structural equation model (SEM) through Smart PLS for quantitative analysis, for qualitative analysis Grounded analysis drawn upon the Straussian version of grounded theory (GT) {{Strauss, 1990 #136} Strauss, 1998 #139} is proposed for data analysis in this research.

This study intends to provide significant contributions to body of knowledge on strategy, migration, and organizational behaviour among other, it will also offer evidenced-based policy recommendations to practitioners to improve innovative outcomes of their organizations.

Academic Enquiries

This project is supervised by Dr Imran Ali. For informal queries, please contact [Email Address Removed]. For all other enquiries relating to eligibility or application process please use the email form below to contact Admissions. 

Funding Information

Home and International students (inc. EU) are welcome to apply. The studentship is available to Home and International (including EU) students and includes a full stipend at UKRI rates (for 2022/23 full-time study this is £17,668 per year) and full tuition fees. Studentships are also available for applicants who wish to study on a part-time basis over 5 years (0.6 FTE, stipend £10,600 per year and full tuition fees) in combination with work or personal responsibilities).  

Please also see further advice below of additional costs that may apply to international applicants.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
  • Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
  • Applicants cannot apply for this funding if they are already a PhD holder or if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

Please note: to be classed as a Home student, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
  • have settled status, or
  • have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
  • have indefinite leave to remain or enter.

If a candidate does not meet the criteria above, they would be classed as an International student.  Applicants will need to be in the UK and fully enrolled before stipend payments can commence, and be aware of the following additional costs that may be incurred, as these are not covered by the studentship.

  • Immigration Health Surcharge https://www.gov.uk/healthcare-immigration-application
  • If you need to apply for a Student Visa to enter the UK, please refer to the information on https://www.gov.uk/student-visa. It is important that you read this information very carefully as it is your responsibility to ensure that you hold the correct funds required for your visa application otherwise your visa may be refused.
  • Check what COVID-19 tests you need to take and the quarantine rules for travel to England https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-to-england-from-another-country-during-coronavirus-covid-19
  • Costs associated with English Language requirements which may be required for students not having completed a first degree in English, will not be borne by the university. Please see individual adverts for further details of the English Language requirements for the university you are applying to.

How to Apply

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see


For applications to be considered for interview, please include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words and the advert reference (e.g. RDF23/…).

Deadline for applications: 27 January 2023

Start date of course: 1 October 2023 tbc


Anderson, N., Potočnik, K., & Zhou, J. (2014). Innovation and creativity in organizations: A state-of-the-science review, prospective commentary, and guiding framework. Journal of Management, 40: 1297–1333.
Choudhury, P., Hernandez, E., Khanna, T., Kulchina, E., Shaver, M., Wang, D., & Zellmer-Bruhn, M. (2022). Migration and Organizations, Organization Science Special Issue Call for Papers, retrieved November 10, 2022, from https://pubsonline.informs.org/page/orsc/calls-for-papers
Edwin J. Nijssen, E.J., Hillebrand, B., Vermeulen, P.A.M., Kemp, R.G.M. (2003). Exploring product and service innovation similarities and differences, International Journal of Research in Marketing, 23(3), 241-251.
Eisenhardt, K. M., & Martin, J. A. (2000). Dynamic capabilities: What are they? Strategic Management Journal, 21: 1105–1121.
Florida, R. (2002). The rise of the creative class, Basic Books, New York.
Glaeser, E. (2004): Book Review of Florida’s ‘The rise of the Creative Class’. [post.economics.harvard.edu/faculty/glaeser/papers.html].
Kogut, B., & Zander, U. (1992). Knowledge of the firm, combinative capabilities, and the replication of technology. Organization Science, 3: 383–397.
Lavie, D. (2006). Capability reconfiguration: An analysis of incumbent responses to technological change. Academy of Management Review, 31: 153–174.
Luo, Z., Callaert, J., Zeng, D. and Looy, B.V. (2022). Knowledge recombination, environmental turbulence and firms' innovation quality: the evidence from Chinese pharmaceutical industry, European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJIM-10-2021-0517
Schumpeter, J. A. 1939. Business cycles. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Shane, S., & Venkatraman, S. (2000). The promise of entrepreneurship and economic growth. Small Business Economics, 13: 27–55.
Strauss, A. and Corbin, J.M. (1990), Basics of Qualitative Research: Grounded Theory Procedures and Techniques, SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks.
Strauss, A. and Corbin, J.M. (1998), Basics of Qualitative Research: Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory, SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks.
Taghizadeh, S.K., Rahman, S.A. and Hossain, M.M. (2018). Knowledge from customer, for customer or about customer: which triggers innovation capability the most? Journal of Knowledge Management, 22, 162-182.
Terziovski, M. (2010). Innovation practice and its performance implications in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the manufacturing sector: A resource-based view. Strategic Management Journal, 31: 892–902.
Xiao, T., Makhija, M., & Karim, S. (2022). A Knowledge Recombination Perspective of Innovation: Review and New Research Directions. Journal of Management, 48(6), 1724–1777.

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