Cross-cultural Knowledge Management: A Case Study of IT Offshoring in Company A

By Miwa Nishinaka, Katsuhiro Umemoto and Yasunobu Ito.

Published by Knowledge Management: An International Journal

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

We present project knowledge management from a cross-cultural perspective, an approach that expands the role of knowledge management and enables an examination of the related concepts through empirical study. We also present the following propositions to examine their theoretical implications.
P1: In international project settings, including virtual settings, tacit knowledge can be transferred from one locale to another, where it will be localized or internalized.
P2: If international common tacit knowledge eventually emerges, then the knowledge processes in projects will function in a virtuous cycle.
To examine these propositions in the context of theoretical implications, we conducted a case study of the knowledge processes in IT offshoring projects between Japan and China in a Company A. Data was collected by conducting questionnaire surveys among Japanese and Chinese project members, which were then analyzed by SPSS statistical software. The academic contribution of this study is to confirm the theoretical propositions by analyzing data from an actual business case. The practical contribution of this study is to identify solutions for cross-cultural knowledge issues in international projects by a cross-cultural knowledge management perspective.

Keywords: Knowledge Management, Cross-cultural Management, Project Management, Knowledge Management Style, Common Understanding

Knowledge Management: An International Journal, Volume 15, Issue 1, March 2015, pp.1-20. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.143MB).

Miwa Nishinaka

Doctorial Student, School of Knowledge Science, Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Yokohama, Tsuduki-ku, Japan

Miwa Nishinaka is currently a doctoral student at Graduate School of Knowledge Science, Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST), Japan. She received a bachelor degree in Keio University in Japan and master degree in Graduate School of Business Administration, Keio University. She had worked for a global IT company in Japan for more than 15 years as a project manager. Her research interests include knowledge management, project management, cross-cultural knowledge management and the syntheses of them.

Katsuhiro Umemoto

Professor, School of Knowledge Science, Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Nomi-shi, Ishikawa, Japan

Katsuhiro Umemoto is a Professor in the Graduate School of Knowledge Science of Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST), Japan. Katsuhiro Umemoto graduated from Kyushu University in 1975 with BA in Economics. He has worked as research associate for Ikujiro Nonaka at Hitotsubashi University and obtained his doctoral degree in public policy from George Washington University in 1997. His current research interests include knowledge management in non-business sectors such as public administration, health care, social welfare, NPOs, etc. He was a member of the project for the Knowledge-Creating Company that initiated the knowledge management movement and has translated the book into Japanese. He has also translated Davenport and Prusak’s Working Knowledge and Nancy Dixon’s Common Knowledge, worldwide bestsellers in the field of knowledge management.

Dr. Yasunobu Ito

Associate Professor, School of Knowledge Science, Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Nomi-shi, Ishikawa, Japan

Cultural anthropologist Dr. Yasunobu Ito is an Associate Professor at the School of Knowledge Science of the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST), where he has been teaching anthropological/sociological theory and qualitative research methods since 2005. His book, An anthropology of knowledge of an indigenous people: A New Zealand Maori knowledge and society ethnography (Kyoto, Sekaishisosya Press), was selected for The Japanese Society for Oceanic Studies Award in 2008. His research interests lie in the anthropological study of the knowledge of indigenous peoples, and currently also include ethnographic studies on medical information technology and work practices in hospitals, and the application of ethnographic methods in business/corporate contexts. He holds a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from Kyushu University.