This paper aims to contribute to the emerging discussion on the contextualization of knowledge-oriented research by examining the universality of knowledge management (KM) practices. Knowledge is a firm’s most valuable resource, and KM, or the ability to leverage knowledge resources, constitutes the base for the firm’s competitive advantages.
A theorized ten-fold conceptualization of KM practices is tested on a sample of 622 firms from four countries (Finland, Spain, China and Russia). Confirmatory factor analysis and principal component analysis are used to test the applicability of the concept in various country contexts.
The findings provide interesting evidence of variation in the managerial assessment of KM practices among countries. This shows that KM practices are socially embedded phenomena, affected by the managers’ institutional and cultural contexts.
Researchers and managers are advised to be mindful of the differences in terms of KM practices between the studied countries and to display a certain cultural sensitivity when approaching KM.
The paper is the first to examine the managerially assessed structure of KM practices in a cross-country context with multi-firm datasets. The results will help to determine the similarity of KM practices in four economically and culturally distinct countries. It also adds to the discussion about the potential national peculiarities of KM and provides a novel concept of KM practices, which is tested in a cross-national context. Thus, this study provides an outline for future KM studies and increases managerial understanding about the variety of value-creating KM practices.
Hussinki, H., Kianto, A., Vanhala, M. and Ritala, P. (2017), "Assessing the universality of knowledge management practices", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 21 No. 6, pp. 1596-1621. https://doi.org/10.1108/JKM-09-2016-0394Download as .RIS
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