The barriers of knowledge sharing in multicultural organization
1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Management and International Business, Management
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In today’s global business environment multiculturalism is daily factor in multinational companies (MNCs). Global MNCs tend to be geographically dispersed, which challenges the communication and interactions between individuals. The multicultural setting contains organization members from different cultural backgrounds, which challenges the organizational culture. The cultural diversity challenges in MNCs are not diminishing in the future. Instead the effects of global business environment thrives the organization’s to manage multicultural workforce and utilize the values, which cultural diversity offers. Purpose of this research is to acknowledge the critical knowledge sharing (KS) barriers in multicultural setting between individuals. Reflect these barriers to cultural diversity challenges and acknowledge the factors, which may help to overcome or even prevent the barriers from occurring. The research method is systemic literature review and the empirical framework is analyzed based on other previous empirical resources made in relevant field of study. The data collection process contained several phases, journal search, determining keywords and applying computer- assisted searches, practical and methodological screenings and reference crosschecking. The analysis of the state of KS barriers in multicultural setting is done from 52 selected articles published between 1996 and 2015. The main barriers of KS between individuals are the diversities in national culture, language, function and geographical dispersion. These all reflect other significant barriers like communication challenges, lack of information technology support and especially homogeneous in-groups. Lingual and national diversity affect to the overall knowledge sharing behavior of the individual. In order to overcome cultural diversities organization members need to understand and respect the cultural differences and make adjustments. Utilizing KM culture, which fosters multiculturalism, is long and multidimensional process, which requires changes in organization members’ behaviors and attitudes. Organizations should pursue informal opportunities for individuals to interact with each other. Communities of Practice may act as networks, which allow members to securely interact and create a feeling of belonging and equality.
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