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Overcoming cultural barriers to sharing knowledge

Richard McDermott (Richard McDermott is President of McDermott Consulting, Boulder, Colorado, USA.)
Carla O’Dell (Carla O’Dell is President of the American Productivity & Quality Center, Houston, Texas, USA.)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 1 March 2001



Culture is often seen as the key inhibitor of effective knowledge sharing. A study of companies where sharing knowledge is built into the culture found that they did not change their culture to match their knowledge management initiatives. They adapted their approach to knowledge management to fit their culture. They did this by: linking sharing knowledge to solving practical business problems; tying sharing knowledge to a pre‐existing core value; introducing knowledge management in a way that matches the organization’s style; building on existing networks people use in their daily work; and encouraging peers and supervisors to exert pressure to share.



McDermott, R. and O’Dell, C. (2001), "Overcoming cultural barriers to sharing knowledge", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 5 No. 1, pp. 76-85.




Copyright © 2001, MCB UP Limited

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