Cross Cultural Knowledge Management


By

Mrs. Rachna Bamba
Faculty Member
ICFAI National College
Pantnagar
 


No vessel is limitless, except for the vessel of knowledge which forever expands.

No wealth can profit you more than the mind, no isolation can be more desolate than conceit, no policy can be wiser than prudence, no generosity can be better than decency, no heritage can be more bountiful than culture, no guidance can be truer than inspiration, no enterprise can be more successful than goodness, and no honour can surpass knowledge.

There are many ways of managing organizational knowledge, but each must be tailored to the context of the company i.e. how we can manage knowledge in cross cultural environment?

Usually this question is not asked before the acquisition or the merger.  It is asked a few months or a couple of years later, when the question "How can we make better use of what we know that we know or that we don't know that we know" becomes paramount.  Mostly cross-border work and cross-cultural knowledge management in  used in FMCG (fast moving consumer goods companies), the aerospace industry, in professional services companies, the pharmaceutical industry and many other industries. 

Knowledge is two things: it is both a stock and a flow.  But many companies get stuck at the stock stage, they sit on static knowledge and dead human and intellectual capital.  To make the knowledge, human capital and intellectual capital flow you need to put in place a set of fairly simple activities and processes, some of them based on human resource practice and some of them based on technology.  

A major part of managing knowledge is learning from our mistakes and failures, but they have to be admitted as such, and accepted.  A work environment of unconditional acceptance must be encouraged.  A knowledge bank of what has worked and what has not worked must be in place.  How good is your company's knowledge bank?   What sort of information does it contain about past failures, which could be turned to your advantage, past successes which could be further built upon?  

Paradoxically, in an ambiguous world we need ambivalence and "ambivalence" in an organizational setting means the meeting and creative confrontation of many minds.  Better encouragement and management of information redundancies can often avoid superfluous action. But recent massive layoffs, re-engineering and other phenomena such as downsizing have often  signaled the arrival of the grim reaper. 

New information and communications technologies have rarely been used to their full potential to communicate within the walls of the company the sort of information that used to be sent by word of mouth, or imitated between apprentice and master. Information can circulate fairly easily within a group of up to about 150 people, but it has problems jumping over the natural barriers formed between groups, cities, regions, countries and languages.
 


Mrs. Rachna Bamba
Faculty Member
ICFAI National College
Pantnagar
 

Source: E-mail December 6, 2007

          

Back to Articles 1-99 / Back to Articles 100-199 / Back to Articles 200-299 / Back to Articles 300-399
Back to Articles 400-499 / Back to Articles 500-599 / Back to Articles 600 Onward
Faculty Column Main Page