The Concept of Culture in Knowledge Management: Towards a Cohesion-oriented View

By Helena Heizmann.

Published by The Organization Collection

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

While the link between culture and knowledge management (KM) has received increasing research attention in the recent literature, the relationships between different concepts of culture and KM are rarely explored further. Based on a review of the growing body of research exploring national culture influences on knowledge sharing (KS), this paper identifies the predominance of a value-based, coherence-oriented approach to cultural and cross-cultural analysis in KM. Indicating a range of related problems and shortcomings, the paper continues to explore an alternative, cohesion-oriented approach to culture emerging from the realm of cultural studies and intercultural communication literature (e.g. Hansen 2003; Rathje 2007). This approach sees culture as a form of glue, which connects, rather than unifies people (Rathje, 2007). The paper argues that the cohesion-oriented perspective is particularly apt to explore some of the key challenges in cross-cultural KM such as the link between culture and practice, culture and power, and cultural synergies in fluid social networks.

Keywords: Culture, Cross-cultural Knowledge Management, Knowledge Sharing, National Culture, Intercultural

International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 8, Issue 8, pp.35-44. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 629.686KB).

Helena Heizmann

Department of International Communication, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Helena Heizmann holds an MPhil in Information Studies. She is currently pursuing a PhD in International Communication at Macquarie University, Sydney (Australia). Her research interests center around the topics of knowledge sharing in multi-national organisations, cultural diversity and communities of practice.


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