Foreign direct investment and local knowledge base: Embedding foreign subsidiaries in German dual vocational education and training


  • Martina Fuchs Universität zu Köln
  • Johannes Westermeyer Universität zu Köln
  • Lena Finken Universität zu Köln
  • Matthias Pilz



Foreign direct investment, Local knowledge base, Local embeddedness, Dual vocational education and training, Germany


Dual vocational education and training systematically combines the learning of apprentices (in vocational schools) or students (in applied universities) with the ‘learning venue’ of the company. The dual vocational education and training exists in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and stands for regional competitiveness as well as for job opportunities of young people on the local labour market. Outside of these three countries, the dual system hardly exists, but dual practices are subject of international skill transfer policies. While this transfer is well researched, it is hardly known to what extent (in mirror image) subsidiaries of foreign companies take part in the dual system of German speaking countries. This question was examined, by focussing on subsidiaries of multinational companies in Germany. Theoretically, the contribution relates to research on local knowledge bases and the embeddedness of foreign subsidiaires. The study pursues a qualitative method. The results show that the local training managers have freedom for decision-making and use this in favour of getting involved in dual vocational education and training. However, the effort turns out to be high. Dual activities take place primarily as a strategy for adapting to the institutional environment, not as a way of shaping the environment. The local stakeholders are mostly reactive in this regard. This points to possible future fields of research on local knowledge bases and local embeddedness and, with regard to practice, to the relevance of mutual coordination.


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How to Cite

Fuchs, M., Westermeyer, J., Finken, L. and Pilz, M. (2022) “Foreign direct investment and local knowledge base: Embedding foreign subsidiaries in German dual vocational education and training”, Raumforschung und Raumordnung | Spatial Research and Planning. DE. doi: 10.14512/rur.179.



Research Article