Page 63 - Crossing Cultural Boundaries - Cees den Teuling
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openness to see, as well as the readiness to solve problems by the introduction of new insights and solutions are culturally oriented conditions that can affect the progress of knowledge processes significantly. Davenport, DeLong, and Beers (1998) indicate that culture also frames the organisational context of knowledge processes. For example, culture influences the adaption of processes such as knowledge sharing, knowledge development or retention. The KM literature puts a major emphasis on the featured form of connections between culture and knowledge. As a general rule, authors support the idea that the right conditions for knowledge development are and have to be created by culture. Faith, an unconditional openness, and a curiosity to learn are based on cultural peculiarities. Culture also determines the level of acceptance of KM, as well as the acceptance of making mistakes and not being followed by punishment of any sort, but regarded and valued as a learning opportunity and a strong option to learn (DeLong & Fahey, 2000).
In organisation’s management model, culture plays an important role. For example, according to Kanter (1996) in cultures where knowledge sharing and learning are appreciated, a directive management style is not appropriate. As presented in Kanters’ Organisation’s Management Model, culture has a severe influence on the acceptance of knowledge sharing. To put it differently, it affects the acceptance of actively managed knowledge processes by other stakeholders, except the knowledge partners themselves. According to Lam (1997), culture also has an influence on the specifications of KM interventions. It co-decides the level of faith and trust members of an organisation will meet, as well as who should introduce KM interventions. Leadership’s focus and style of management are stipulated by the cultural environment, together with the actual specifications of management directions. The cultural approach to reward or expression of appreciation also plays an important role in the development of a “learning” community (Hendriks, 2004).
Culture as a group phenomenon depends on individuals. Insight in the role of the individual is in at least three ways useful when considering culture as a group phenomenon. First, a diagnosis of the role of individuals is important as it may show how strong group culture is and to what extent group culture influences knowledge sharing. Second, every individual is a member of more than one cultural group, partly within and partly outside the organisation, and their culture materialises at the crossroad of those cultures. Third, Assessing the role of the individual in the OC involves assessing the cultural involvement of that individual (Hendriks, 2004).

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