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Handbook of Research in International Human Resource Management

Edited by Günter K. Stahl and Ingmar Björkman

In providing an insightful overview of a wide range of global human resource issues facing MNCs, this pathbreaking Handbook highlights emergent topics and new research findings that could shape the field of future IHRM research. Theoretical discussion of the variables and processes that affect IHRM policies and practices is provided by renowned contributors with widely differing academic backgrounds, paradigmatic orientations, and theoretical and methodological approaches.
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Chapter 7: Global Knowledge Management and HRM

Paul Sparrow


Paul Sparrow Desouza and Evaristo (2003: 62) noted recently that ‘the literature addressing management of knowledge in a global context is best described as sparse. To date there is yet to be a significant undertaking that looks at issues in managing knowledge across borders’. When analysing the capabilities that are deemed necessary to support a knowledge-based enterprise (Beckman, 1999; Grant & Baden-Fuller, 2004; Nevis, DiBella & Gould, 1997; Ruggles, 1998; Staples, Greenaway & McKeen, 2001) three clusters arise: 1. 2. knowledge acquisition and creation: generation of new knowledge fundamental to the long-term viability of the enterprise; knowledge capture and storage: creation of an inventory of knowledge so the organization knows what knowledge it possesses, and where it resides. The maintenance of current knowledge in usable form so that it remains valuable; knowledge diffusion and transfer: subsequent mobilization and flow of knowledge within the organization that creates knowledge-based value. 3. There the consensus ends. If we ask how such capabilities may be put into action and what they actually look like there is much speculation. Theory often precedes any strong evidence base and there are still weaknesses in our knowledge about knowledge management. This chapter, it is hoped, contributes by highlighting a series of integration mechanisms that are necessary to assist in the acquisition, capture and diffusion of knowledge in international organizations. The chapter outlines five main forms of global knowledge management, or integration mechanisms: (a) organizational design and the specific issue of centres of excellence, (b) managing systems and...

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