Diversity and Relational Perspectives
Edited by Katerina Nicolopoulou, Mine Karataş-Özkan, Ahu Tatli and John Taylor
Chapter 9: Relationality in Global Knowledge Work Teams
Olivia Kyriakidou INTRODUCTION Organizations in the global knowledge economy typically confront a pressing need to integrate knowledge that is geographically dispersed in order to create and appropriate value (Foss and Pedersen, 2004). The network and knowledge literature suggests that groups of global knowledge workers may serve as vehicles that can integrate such dispersed knowledge (Brown and Duguid, 2001). Such knowledge networks of individuals pose the critical question of how members of global knowledge teams stay engaged and responsive in relationships with knowledge seekers who belong to the same workgroup but to different cultural contexts. This question implies that strong relationships lead to greater knowledge exchange, as people are more willing to give useful knowledge (Andrews and Delahay, 2000; Tsai and Ghoshal, 1998) and are also more willing to listen to and absorb other’s knowledge (Carley, 1991). Presumably, networks with strong relationships are more likely to expend effort to ensure that a knowledge seeker sufficiently understands and can put into use newly acquired knowledge (Hansen, 1999). Moreover, it implies that the abilities of knowledge workers to develop a relational orientation, and hence relationality at work, is crucial for sustaining the effectiveness of knowledge exchange. Such relationality could be in some way influenced by the organizational arrangements within which such interactions take place. Following recent work in this area, the term ‘relationality at work’ is used to describe the tasks necessary to develop and sustain interpersonal relationships (Fletcher, 1994; Jacques, 1992). These are concrete tasks that are required for skilled knowledge exchange...
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