An Exploratory Case Study: Cultural Effects of Knowledge Management Practices in the Solomon Islands

By Joseph Sanga and Kala S. Retna.

Published by The Organization Collection

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

In recent years Knowledge Management(KM) has received increasing attention from both academics and practitioners. The global economy has compelled organisations to develop approaches to KM to stay competitive. Despite the central role of culture in knowledge, limited attention has been given to its impact on the practice of KM. Drawing on research in an organisation in Solomon Islands, the paper examines the role of national culture. In this paper, Solomon Islands’ national culture with its main features of multiplicity of subcultures, big-manism, wantokism, pijin and the people’s experiences through mission work, government and war are highlighted as providing encouragement but also barriers to KM. The qualitative research drew on methodological triangulation which included semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and participant observations. The findings show that culture plays an important role in how organizational members perceive the importance and value of knowledge. Important knowledge is perceived to be ‘cognitive’ acquired through education and indigenous knowing is socially constructed and is mainly underappreciated in its tacit form. The paper contributes to theory and practice, arguing for the relevance of understanding cultural dynamics in KM.

Keywords: Knowledge Management, National Culture, Solomon Islands

International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp.403-416. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 632.205KB).

Joseph Sanga

Human Resource manager, Human Resource Department, International Company -Solomon Islands, Honiara, Solomon Islands

Joseph Sanga completed his Master in Management Studies in Victoria University and is currently working as a member of the top team of British American Tobacco in Solomon Islands. His main areas of research in New Zealand and Solomon Island are knowledge management and culture.

Dr. Kala S. Retna

Senior Lecturer in Management, Victoria Management School, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand

I teach organisational behaviour at various level including undergraduates and post experience. I have a teaching background both in Management and Education. My research has canvassed the cultural dynamics that confronts learning models, such as the learning organisation concept. I also have extensive experience in professional development, facilitation and teaching in diverse cultural background. My main areas of research, training and consultancy at Victoria University are learning organisation, knowledge management, leadership, creativity, work and family life, cross cultural management, and teaching and learning in higher education.

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