Culture and Knowledge Transfe: Theoretical Considerations
Liu, Jing, Journal of Service Science and Management (JSSM)
There are diverging opinions the question of whether culture might influence knowledge management. Reference  believes that there is a convergence of approaches with regards to knowledge management and that effective knowledge management may evolve to become a universal concept. Several researchers have found no evidence that differences in national culture have an affect on knowledge management practices [2-4]. But there are considerable evidence supports the importance of culture in the success or failure of knowledge management within organizations. Reference  is very critical of the viewpoints ignoring culture influence on knowledge management. He point out that these viewpoints gives the impression that knowledge management operates in a kind of unitary vacuum in which diversity in terms of language, cultural and ethnic background are compressed into one giant independent variable which is in any case pushed to the side. Reference  agree and state that knowledge management models that exclude the influence of national and regional culture seriously undercut their potential effectiveness particularly in global applications. They suggest that "cultural bias exists in data bases and in all business and innovation" and that "western analytical assumptions about knowledge and information management, dominates both informa tion and knowledge management research and development". Recently, a few researchers have found empirical evidence that differences in national culture do affect knowledge sharing [7,8].
Knowledge and culture are indissolubly linked together in organizations. Recent technological revolution, accompanied by rapid globalization , has led to increased cultural heterogeneity within organizations. As the world becomes more and more globalized, western organizations now have access to a pool of job candidates from increasingly diverse cultural backgrounds . National borders no longer preclude individuals of different cultures from working in international organizations. Consequently, organizations today exhibit more cultural diversity among their employees. Simultaneously, advancing globalization is forcing organizations to engage in alliances and networks with partners with widely diverse national or ethnic cultural backgrounds. The differences in the cultural orientation of the collaborating organizations increase the risk of misunderstandings and conflicts, and often lead to failure, but if managed in a balanced manner may also improve performance . To overcome these barriers to success, we need both cultural understanding and new considerations in the knowledge transfer of intercultural organizations.
The effectiveness of knowledge transfer is directly related to the type of knowledge involved in the transfer process. In addition, the transfer of knowledge is moderated by 1) the nature of transacting cultural patterns and 2) the cognitive styles of the individuals.
The paper comprises five sections. In the next section, the author will introduce a conceptual framework for different types of knowledge and discuss the effect they impose for knowledge transfer. The third section first discusses the characteristics of culture and then proposes a classification scheme based on a topology that classified national culture into four dimensions provided by [12,13]. In the fourth section, power distance and individualism/collectivism are chosen as the representatives of national culture in this work and discuss the effect of national culture on knowledge transfer. A discussion on the theoretical and managerial implications concludes the study.
2. Theoretical Considerations: Knowledge and Knowledge Types
In order to articulate knowledge transfer we need a basic conceptualization of the concept of knowledge. The academic question of how knowledge should best be defined is a subject of a lively epistemological debate. The complex nature of knowledge has been discussed extensively in information technology (IT), strategic management, organizational theory and knowledge management literature. Reviewing crucial literature, principally there are two approaches to defining knowledge. One uses the concept of a value chain or hierarchical structure among data, information, and knowledge. The other focuses on the analysis of the process of knowing.
The most common way to describe knowledge is to distinguish it from data and information [14,15]. Reference  suggests that knowledge is authenticated information and information is …
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Publication information: Article title: Culture and Knowledge Transfe: Theoretical Considerations. Contributors: Liu, Jing - Author. Journal title: Journal of Service Science and Management (JSSM). Volume: 3. Issue: 1 Publication date: March 2010. Page number: 159+. © 2009 Scientific Research Publishing, Inc. COPYRIGHT 2010 Gale Group.
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