KM Case Study Week 2.pdf - Knowledge Management Research...

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A study of knowledge management enablers across countries Re ´my Magnier-Watanabe 1 Caroline Benton 1 and Dai Senoo 2 1 Graduate School of Business Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tokyo, Japan; 2 Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan Correspondence: Re ´my Magnier-Watanabe, University of Tsukuba, Graduate School of Business Sciences, 3-29-1 Otsuka, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 112-0012 Japan. Tel: þ 81 (0) 3-3942-6929; Fax: þ 81 (0) 03-3942-6929; E-mail: magnier-watanabe [email protected] Received: 6 November 2009 Revised: 5 November 2010 Accepted: 9 November 2010 Abstract Knowledge has been long cited as a strategic asset and a source of competitive advantage for organizations. However, the creation of knowledge is a complex process that is influenced by several factors beyond the typical practice of knowledge management (KM). In this research, we assess the effects of leadership, Ba (shared context in motion), organizational culture, organiza- tional control, and work style on KM defined in terms of the SECI process of socialization, externalization, combination, and internalization. On the basis of data gathered from a questionnaire survey of a Japanese pharmaceutical company and its subsidiaries in the United States, France, and China, we compare how the aforementioned organizational factors influence the processes of KM in these organizations. The results show that organizational factors affect KM practices differently in each of the targeted countries, and suggest that KM activities need to be tailored to the organizational idiosyncrasies of each local office, without betraying the global vision of the corporation. Knowledge Management Research & Practice (2011) 9, 17–28. doi:10.1057/kmrp.2011.1 Keywords: organization; Japan; knowledge management; SECI; culture Introduction Knowledge management (KM) has been recognized as being central to product and process innovation, executive decision making, and organiza- tional adaptation and renewal (Earl, 2001). However, existing KM frame- works – that distinguish, for instance, knowledge from information or explicit knowledge from tacit knowledge – do not easily suggest what KM interventions or investments an organization should make. Zack (1998) cites several field studies related to the motivating factors for KM projects (Davenport et al ., 1998; Leidner, 1998; Ruggles, 1998), and states that the link between KM and business strategy, although frequently mentioned, has been widely ignored in practice. In the resource-based view of the firm, internal resources and capabilities are the main source of competitive advantage, and firms should position themselves strategically based on their unique, valuable, and inimitable resources and capabilities rather than on the external positioning of products and services derived from those capabilities (Prahalad & Hamel, 1990; Grant, 1991; Collis & Montgomery, 1995; Barney, 1996). When viewed as a dynamic organizational capability, KM can help the firm innovate to achieve congruence with the changing business environment (Teece et al ., 1997; Kusunoki et al ., 1998; Eisenhardt & Martin, 2000).
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