Cultural embeddedness and contextual constraints: knowledge sharing in Chinese and Arab cultures
In a recent article Glisby and Holden have noted that the Nonaka and Takeuchi model of knowledge management needs to be used with caution. Its application is not universal because it must be seen primarily as a product of the Japanese cultural context from which it emerged. In the model each of the four modes is interpreted in reference to their embeddedness in Japanese cultural symbols, organizational structures and societal value systems. But we propose that, a fortiori, some aspects of this model do apply to modes of knowledge acquisition and transfer in other cultural contexts. In this paper we review the workings of the model and the four modes with reference to the cultural, organization-structural and value bases of Chinese and Arab societies. We demonstrate that the Nonaka and Takeuchi model maps partially, but differently from both Western and Japanese societies, on to each of these cultural contexts. In these cultures managers and organizational members will share knowledge with those with whom they already have a trustful relationship. This paper explores the implications of the fact that in China and the Arab world the sharing of knowledge cannot be taken for granted outside this context of trustful relationships.
Knowledge and Process Management
Human Resources Management