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Knowledge Works: The Handbook of Practical Ways to Identify and Solve Common Organizational Problems for Better Performance by Jane McKenzie, Christine van Winkelen

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Chapter 18

TAKING ACCOUNT OF NATIONAL CULTURE IN DESIGNING KNOWLEDGE INITIATIVES

Snapshot

One of the benefits of global organizations is their ability to offer a seamless service to customers around the world. They can also benefit from the ideas and learning opportunities generated by a diverse workforce. Yet, knowledge-related initiatives designed to achieve these objectives by “joining up” knowledge flows across national boundaries can be difficult to implement successfully. Part of the reason is that deeply embedded cultural preferences condition assumptions about how to do things and affect people’s responses to what they are being asked to do.

Here we identify six factors that need to be taken into account when rolling out knowledge-related initiatives around the world: KM triggers and blockages; building relationships and networks; introducing structures, systems, and technology; performance management; introducing change; and communication. A series of questions have been created to help you understand how to tailor an implementation plan for an international knowledge initiative so that it is as effective as possible.

The research looked in detail at what these factors mean in Brazil, China, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The implications of national cultural characteristics for key aspects of knowledge-related activities (such as the type of knowledge that is most easily shared, engagement with communities of practice, and how best to encourage knowledge ...

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