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Risk-avoiding cultures toward achievement of knowledge sharing

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Purpose ‐ The knowledge base of a firm is increasingly believed to underlie firm performance, and culture is commonly viewed as the major obstacle to effective knowledge management. This study seeks to evaluate the relevance of organizational culture and to explore how it can influence the achievement of knowledge sharing within an enterprise. Design/methodology/approach ‐ An empirical survey of Taiwan's firms was conducted to study organizational cultures, but also to determine how risk-avoiding culture affects the achievement of knowledge sharing. Findings ‐ An effective culture is formed by process formalization and tendentiousness of a defensively firm attitude to decision making should be developed. Furthermore, management should plan a healthy empowerment system to encourage employees to fully utilize their talents and skills in their jobs. Research limitations/implications ‐ This study raises questions regarding the most appropriate combination of risk-avoiding cultures for knowledge sharing. Since it involved a large mailing of a lengthy, blind survey to busy managers, the response rate was expected to be low. Even so, the low-response rate raises questions regarding the generalizability of the finds, and thus it is important that the study be replicated in Taiwan or another country. Practical implications ‐ This study demonstrates the importance of considering risk-avoiding cultures in achieving knowledge sharing in relation to issues of compatibility. Such organizations benefit from understanding the relationships between the three cultures and the implementation of such programs within organizations. Originality/value ‐ This study highlights the need to consider culture when knowledge management programs are implemented that may be incompatible with the existing culture. Such organizations can benefit from understanding the importance of culture in knowledge sharing.
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Keywords: Culture; Knowledge sharing; Taiwan

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 31, 2007

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