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Facilitating knowledge sharing in a Chinese consulting company

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of communities of practice (CoPs) in facilitating knowledge sharing within a Chinese management consulting company. Design/methodology/approach ‐ A qualitative case study was conducted within a Chinese management consulting company. Data collection was based on focus group interviews and in-depth interviews. Findings ‐ The finding of this study suggests that there are some knowledge sharing barriers caused by both organizational factors and cultural factors. CoP in the case company have been playing very positive roles in overcoming those barriers and facilitating knowledge sharing in the company. Research limitations/implications ‐ The findings are restricted to the specific context of this study. However, qualitative methodology contributes to thick and rich data and it gives an understanding of the phenomena under study within the context of the study. Therefore, readers can decide and make their own generalizations with relevant context. Practical implications ‐ Based on the research findings, the study developed the knowledge sharing model in the case company, which provides a synthesis for this study result. This model can help related academics and practitioners to understand the Chinese cultural and social influences on knowledge management practice, as well as the role of CoPs in facilitating knowledge sharing in Chinese organisations. Originality/value ‐ Few studies have explicitly paid attention to knowledge sharing within Chinese organizations. This paper provides useful information both for academics interested in cultural issues within knowledge management and impartial advice for knowledge managers within Chinese companies.
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Keywords: China; Communities of practice; Knowledge management; Knowledge sharing; Management consultancy; Organizations

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-05-25

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