A Comparison of Chinese and UK Cultural Preferences Supporting Knowledge Management in Organizations

By Han Lai and Margaret Graham.

Published by The Organization Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

A supportive organizational culture has been recognised as a critical factor for a successful knowledge management (KM) initiative. This research explores the national diversities in developing such a supportive organizational culture between China and the UK. Some critical cultural attributes are identified from previous literatures as key factors for a supportive culture for KM, namely, ‘Team oriented’, ‘Trust’, ‘Working closely with others’, and ‘Sharing information freely’. It is assumed that a supportive culture will be created if these critical cultural attributes are nurtured in organizations. Based on the perspective of ‘person-culture fit’, a modified ‘organizational culture profile’ (OCP) is employed as a research instrument to explore the different organizational culture preferences among target samples from China and the UK. The conclusions from this study are, compared to the UK, China has preferences in creating a culture of ‘Team oriented’, and has difficulties in creating a culture of ‘Trust’ for knowledge management in organizations. At the same time, both countries may be faced with the same challenges in creating organizational cultures of ‘Sharing information freely’ and ‘Working closely with others’ for knowledge management.

Keywords: National Culture, Organizational Culture, Person-culture Fit, Knowledge Management

International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 9, Issue 5, pp.139-150. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.352MB).

Han Lai

PhD Canditate, Information Knowledge and System Research Group, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Current PhD candidate at Northumbria University. His research interests currently concern knowledge management, information & knowledge seeking and sharing, organizational & individual learning, and organizational & national culture. He is a member of China Association for Management of Technology (CAMOT), and The British Academy of Management (BAM).

Margaret Graham

Principal Lecturer, School of Computing, Engineering and Information Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Principal Lecturer in the School of Computing, Engineering and Information Sciences, Northumbria University. Her research interests include image seeking, retrieval and use, information seeking behaviour, and knowledge sharing and transfer. She has published in the library, computing and art history areas and has presented papers on her research at a number of national and international conferences. She has a degree in Mathematics (London) and a Master of Arts (by research) in Social Sciences (Durham). She is a member of the Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals, the British Computer Society and the Chartered Management Institute.


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