Chinese cultural influences on knowledge management practice
Mitra, A. and Tong, J. (2009) Chinese cultural influences on knowledge management practice. Journal of Knowledge Management, 13 (2). pp. 49-62. ISSN 1367-3270
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/13673270910942691
The purpose of this study is to explore national cultural influences on knowledge management (KM) practices within Chinese manufacturing enterprises. A qualitative case study in four steps was conducted within a Chinese mobile phone company (referred to as Lotus). Data collection was based on observations and in-depth interviews. It was discovered that employees in Chinese manufacturing enterprises like to keep their knowledge implicit and are willing to share it informally.A series of factors derived from Chinese culture such as hierarchy consciousness, fear of losing face, a sense of modesty, competitiveness and preference for face to face communication, can act as barriers to KM initiatives within Chinese manufacturing organisations. Trust in intra-personal relationships among employees can partly mitigate the impact of the above cultural characteristics. However, at a macro organisational level there is still need to share tacit knowledge using explicit/formal KM approaches.