It's personal: The emotional dimension of psychic distance perception in intercultural knowledge transfer

Qiu Wang, Jeremy Clegg, Hanna Gajewska De Mattos, Peter J. Buckley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Psychic distance (PD) is a perceived obstacle to information flows in knowledge transfer between individuals in different national markets. However, the impact of individuals’ subjective perceptions of macro-level distance factors disrupting these flows has been undertheorized. Prior research has conceptualized PD as a geospatial concept – symmetric, continuous and stable over time. Using appraisal theory and a qualitative study of a Chinese multinational, we analyse individual-level psychic distance stimuli. We examine how perceived psychic distance is impacted in the appraisal of personal concerns, triggering salient emotions in the process of individual's cross-border interactions. Our key contribution is to trace and explain how individual-level psychic distance is created in intercultural knowledge transfer. We theorize that it is created by a psychological mechanism involving emotionally charged processes of individuals coping with concerns arising from emotional encounter. We find that conventional macro-level psychic distance is moderated by the emotions of individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102167
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Business Review
Issue number5
Early online date22 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2023

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