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Intertwining the individual and organisational experience: asymmetries of cross-cultural knowledge sharing, networking and learning

Published Online:pp 92-117

The aim of this research is to explore the connection between the individual and organisational experiences of cross-cultural knowledge sharing, networking and learning. A qualitative research design was devised with three Nordic technology companies and significant players in the international market: Kone, Nokia and Yara. The data collection took place through semi-structured interviews of 15 senior managers. Our research suggests that knowledge sharing, networking and learning at the individual and organisational levels form asymmetric and parallel, but not completely separate, universes. Individual and organisational experiences of knowledge management take different forms, functions and foci. The research also emphasises the centrality of individual managers for successful knowledge management. The most effective cross-cultural managers express the importance of active communication in sharing, experience satisfaction in international networking and learn to discern cross-cultural complexities. Our findings have implications for organisational theory highlighting the significance of the level of analysis in cross-cultural activities. The results introduce a perspective for international managerial practices: a need to harness the individual experiences in cross-cultural knowledge management for the benefit of organisational goals.


knowledge management, cross-cultural, multinational corporation, international business, knowledge sharing, networking, learning, individual, organisational, experience