A Cross-National Comparison of Knowledge Management Practices

A Cross-National Comparison of Knowledge Management Practices

George Tovstiga (University of Reading, UK), Len Korot (Institute for Global Management, USA), Leo-Paul Dana (University of Canterbury Christchurch, New Zealand) and Gerard McElwee (University of Lincoln, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-783-8.ch413

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Category: Organizational Aspects of Knowledge Management



Knowledge and knowledge management are both complex constructs and attempts to define the terms pose both practical and epistemological problems. However, for the purposes of this paper we suggest that Knowledge is either ‘hereditary, learned or logico-mathematical’ (Traill, 2008). Different forms of knowledge exist simultaneously: knowledge of an individual of him - or herself, knowledge of an individual, of the properties of a collective, knowledge of a collective of an individual, knowledge of a collective of another collective, and so on (McElwee, 2008). Definitions should allow the measurement through international national and regional statistical and survey data the knowledge-based business and knowledge economy.

Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) define two realms of knowledge: “tacit” and “explicit”. Explicit knowledge is easily identifiable, easy to articulate, capture and share – it is the stuff of books, manuals and reports. By contrast, tacit knowledge consists predominantly of intuition, feelings, perceptions and beliefs, often difficult to express and therefore difficult to capture and transfer. Of the two, tacit knowledge carries the greater value in that it is the essence of innovation.

Managing knowledge and innovation in the post-Network Age is a multidimensional challenge requiring understanding and application of four inextricably linked domains (Figure 1): culture, content, process and infrastructure, all of which have a tacit as well as an explicit dimension. In Figure 1, the solid areas indicate our estimation of the explicit knowledge portion; the open areas, the tacit knowledge for each of the four dimensions (Chait 1998, Tovstiga and Korot 1999).

Figure 1.

Organizational knowledge domains

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