The Impact of Culture and Context on Knowledge Management

The Impact of Culture and Context on Knowledge Management

Murray E. Jennex (San Diego State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2008 |Pages: 6
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-916-8.ch002
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Jennex (2005) used an expert panel to generate the definition of knowledge management as the practice of selectively applying knowledge from previous experiences of decision-making to current and future decision making activities with the express purpose of improving the organization’s effectiveness. This was a consensus definition from the editorial review board that tells us what we are trying to do with knowledge management. However, knowledge management is being applied in multinational, multicultural organizations and we are seeing issues in effectively implementing knowledge management and transferring knowledge in global and/or multicultural environments. Chan and Chau (2005) discuss a failure of knowledge management that was in part caused by organizational culture differences between the home office (Hong Kong) and the main work location (Shanghai). Jennex (2006) discusses Year 2000, Y2K, knowledge sharing projects that were not as successful as expected due to cultural and context issues. These projects involved organizations that performed the same functions just in different nations, however, problems caused by culture and context were not expected. Other research in review with the International Journal of Knowledge Management explores issues of culture with respect to social capital and implementing knowledge management. None of these are far reaching studies that we can generalize issues from, but they do provide anecdotal and case study support that culture and context are issues we need to address.

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