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Meta-analytic comparison on the influencing factors of knowledge transfer in different cultural contexts

Jing Hua Li (School of Management, Zhejiang Gongshang University, Hangzhou, China)
Xiao Ran Chang (School of Management, Zhejiang Gongshang University, Hangzhou, China)
Li Lin (School of Management, Zhejiang Gongshang University, Hangzhou, China)
Li Ya Ma (School of Management, Zhejiang Gongshang University, Hangzhou, China)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 7 April 2014

2197

Abstract

Purpose

This paper provides a comprehensive assessment of the influencing factors on knowledge transfer through meta-analysis with an emphasis on the influence of cultural contexts.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach involved the evaluation and analysis of 69 published empirical studies and the categorization of these studies into two groups based on different cultural contexts as described by Hofstede. A meta-analytic approach was then employed to provide a comparative analysis of the categorized studies.

Findings

The results of the meta-analysis of the influencing factors of knowledge transfer are consistent with the results obtained in most previous studies, indicating a maturation of research in this area. Influencing factors such as knowledge ambiguity, tie strength, trust, and common cognition are shown to impact knowledge transfer in different cultural contexts, particularly with regard to the individualism-low power distance and collectivism-high power distance dimensions defined by Hofstede.

Research limitations/implications

This analysis was limited to the correlation between the influencing factors and the general performance in knowledge transfer and did not specifically address more detailed dimensions such as efficiency and effectiveness. In addition, this analysis was restricted to the cultural contexts of only two cultural dimensions. However, the review of this broad range of studies provided sufficient data to allow an in-depth analysis of related influencing factors and helped to illustrate and exemplify the influencing mechanisms of culture on knowledge transfer.

Practical implications

The results presented in this paper can help managers working in cross-cultural environments to understand the key influencing factors that affect knowledge transfer in the workplace. By understanding these factors, managers can more effectively implement methods and procedures that improve cross-cultural knowledge transfer in the work environment.

Originality/value

This paper provides a detailed insight into the influencing factors found between two distinctive cultural contexts and offers a fresh analysis of influencing factors with regard to knowledge transfer in a cross-cultural environment.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Received 19 August 2013. Revised 27 December 2013, 8 January 2014. Accepted 8 January 2014. The authors would like to acknowledge the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 70972136).

Citation

Li, J.H., Chang, X.R., Lin, L. and Ma, L.Y. (2014), "Meta-analytic comparison on the influencing factors of knowledge transfer in different cultural contexts", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 278-306. https://doi.org/10.1108/JKM-08-2013-0316

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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