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Leveraging socio-culturally situated tacit knowledge

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PurposeThis study seeks to investigate how a more lateral style of working, such as the Swedish model of management that reflects a more linear manner of managing organizational knowledge, is carried over and transferred to Swedish managed organizations in Singapore. Design/methodology/approachA total of 33 top-level managers (23 Scandinavians and ten Asians) who worked in Swedish managed organizations in Singapore were interviewed for this study. It was necessary that the respondents were in top-level management positions, the assumption being that it was their decisions and actions that steered the organization to its goals. The respondents were selected randomly and came from a variety of industry backgrounds. FindingsThe Swedish style of handling information and knowledge within the organization has proven more open, flexible and accessible than Singaporeans might initially expect or understand. This cultural difference of who gains access to timely information and who should use that information to make decisions, for example, first met with a lack of understanding and even inaction on the part of the Singaporeans and active measures are needed such as re-structuring the organization or a constant communicative strategy by the Swedes to first make a change in direction in organization behaviour. This means that the organizations in this study, in keeping a high standard of employee satisfaction, get to retain, harvest and profit from their organization's knowledge base while enjoying a low turnover rate in human capital. Originality/valueThis study aims to take a complementary approach of exploring the Swedish management style via discourse analysis, with the transcribed long interview data sorted with the coding procedures adapted from grounded theory.
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Keywords: Information exchange; Knowledge management; Multicultural management; Organizational change

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-02-22

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