A Cross-Cultural and Institutional Approach
Edited by Kate Hutchings and Kavoos Mohannak
Chapter 5: Re-Examining Knowledge Sharing in an Intercultural Context: Findings from the Transition Economies of China and Russia
1 Kate Hutchings and Snejina Michailova INTRODUCTION During the last two decades, there has been an unprecedented increase in the number of organisations that have internationalised their operations. In part they have been assisted and encouraged to do so by increased numbers of potential markets becoming available in developing nations, including former communist nations that are making the transition to capitalist market economies. Foreign direct investment (FDI) by multinational corporations (MNCs) has brought advanced technologies, marketing skills and easier access to export markets (Soubbotina and Sheram, 2000) but it has also presented challenges and opportunities for these organisations in establishing intra-organisational knowledge sharing. Researchers and practitioners have suggested that knowledge transfer and knowledge sharing are vital in building organisational competitive advantage, and knowledge sharing takes on particular importance in MNCs as their ability to exploit knowledge is more efficient intra-corporate than through the market (Gupta and Govindarajan, 2000). While it has been argued that international businesses need to transfer distinctive knowledge to foreign subsidiaries to offset some of the disadvantages of operating in alien environments (Kogut and Sander, 2002; Von Krogh, 1998), such knowledge transfer does not always take place efficiently (Gupta and Govindarajan, 2000). Knowledge sharing, a learning process whereby there is an assimilation of ideas, involving direct contact and commitment on both sides of the exchange, is even more difficult to monitor for efficiency (Husted and Michailova, 2002) as it depends on the willingness of individuals to identify to the organisation the knowledge they possess and to share...
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