Cultural Impacts on Knowledge Management and Learning in Project-Based Firms
University of Vaasa
University of Vaasa
Abu Dhabi University; University of Oulu; University of Vaasa
September 14, 2009
Vine, Vol. 39, No. 4, pp. 339-352, 2009
Purpose – Projects almost invariably involve a variety of diversely skilled people from different national, organisational, and professional cultural backgrounds. These people come together for a specific period of time to accomplish certain unique, unpredictable, and complex objectives. These distinctive characteristics mean that project-based firms require a particular approach to knowledge management (KM) and learning activities that differs significantly from prevailing strategies. This paper aims to explore the way in which these distinctive cultural issues (national, organisational, and professional) influence KM in project-based firms.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper first looks at the general issues of KM and the “learning organisation”. Second, the study discusses the more specific issue of KM in project-based firms. Third, the paper explores national, organisational, and professional cultures in the context of project-based business. Finally, the paper draws the three preceding sections together to discuss the managerial implications of dealing with cultural issues in fostering KM in project-based firms.
Findings – It is apparent that culture has a most significant influence on the KM capability of an organisation. The moral and budgetary support of senior management is essential for the success of any KM plan in project-based business.
Research limitations/implications – This paper puts forward a conceptually grounded argument by stressing on cultural complexities to KM and learning in project environments. The key cultural issues highlighted here need to be empirically tested in future studies.
Practical implications – At the organisational level, people and processes must be the first priority for project managers who wish to nurture a “KM culture” in project-based business. At the team level, the project manager can help to create a team culture conducive to KM by transmitting appropriate values and beliefs to the team members.
Originality/value – The paper helps practitioners and academics to understand the complexities of cultural issues during KM initiatives in the context of improving project performance.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 14
Keywords: Knowledge Management, Learning, Project Management, CultureAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: May 16, 2010
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