Sharing knowledge efficiency in MNCs can be attributed to factors such as high or low context cultures, but also it can be attributed to the perception of risk or power. Therefore, according to Kaps (2011) trust is a key factor when it comes to sharing knowledge. The author also highlights the importance of culture analysis and how it influences people, systems, processes and consequently knowledge management.
The influence of culture on people has to do with the ability of accepting new technologies (systems), following processes strictly ( processes) and being culturally aware of differences (culture). High and low context culture have a tremendous influence on how people share knowledge and if the other parties are going to efficiently understand that kind of communication.
For instance, in high context cultures, the use of metaphors to explain or transmit knowledge is very common, while in low context cultures, charts and figures will serve as means of explanation.
Identifying those differences is extremely important in order to have a balanced and understandable communication style inside the organization.
Besides that, one must see knowledge management in a holistic way, interconnecting culture, systems, people and processes. The challenges posed by culture when it comes to sharing knowledge can be mitigated through constant development of trust.
Transforming passive knowledge in active sharing knowledge can be achieved through trust within the company and an attractive reward system.
Kaps, I. (2011). ‘ Barriers in intercultural knowledge sharing: learning from an international plant engineering project’ Community of Knowledge [online] Available at: http://www.community-of-knowledge.de/beitrag/barriers-in-intercultural-knowledge-sharing/ (Accessed: 6 August 2013)