A new organisational memory for cross-cultural knowledge management

Dolores Sánchez Bengoa, Hans Ruediger Kaufmann, Demetris Vrontis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Purpose - Effectively managing the cultural environment is an important stepping stone towards international business success. Cultural problems, especially between partners coming from diametrically different cultural categories represent one of the key challenges of knowledge management in international business co-operations. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the influence of controversial cultural attitudes on collaboration and the use of most diverse knowledge capital of employees being regarded as a key resource for innovation and competitive advantage. Design/methodology/ approach - Based on a comprehensive literature review, the very extensive data collection phase, applying the case study method, was carried out over a 13 month period. It mainly consisted of in-depth interviews requiring 23 of them to reach theoretical saturation, non-participant and participant observation (seven), focus groups (four) and fieldtrip notes in two culturally diverse Russian and Austrian research settings. Theoretical sampling was used to select the participants. The grounded theory method of constant comparative analysis was used to analyze the gathered data. Findings - The attitude towards sharing the precious resource of diverse employees' knowledge regarded as a prerequisite to international business success is influenced by national cultures. Protective attitudes for knowledge sharing limit the growth of humans' and the company's development. This paper suggests that providing the appropriate knowledge management tools and environment, especially referring to the soft aspects of emotions, will enhance and even change former institutionalised and ingrained patterns of behaviours. Therefore, the paper sheds light on the knowledge sharing contingency depending more on a social-cognitive state rather than a static hierarchical status. Originality/value - The paper poses two innovative organizational memory conceptualizations based on respondents' needs and demands entailing a synthesis of knowledge management and interpersonal interactions to achieve the highest level of efficiency and high degrees of knowledge sharing and absorption. It bridges the gap of purely knowledge based and unemotional management tools towards a lively and engaging tool. This would appear to be the first time that an investigation of this type has been conducted explaining culturally influenced factors of knowledge management in Eastern and Western European co-operations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)336-351
    Number of pages16
    JournalCross Cultural Management
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • Austria
    • Culture
    • Eastern Europe
    • Knowledge management
    • Organizational culture
    • Organizational memory
    • Russia
    • Western Europe


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