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Influence of diverse cultural backgrounds of SME employees with regard to information and knowledge sharing
Nyatsambo, Tinashe Emmanuel
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Knowledge management has become a critical success factor in business organisations today. Significant research has been conducted globally and various authors and researchers seem to agree that knowledge management is a tool, which organisations can use to gain competitive advantage. However, to be able to effectively use knowledge management as a tool, organisations should overcome certain hurdles. One of the key areas within knowledge management is knowledge sharing and for this to happen smoothly, companies should appreciate the value of their information and knowledge resources. Promoting effective sharing and transfer of intellectual assets is the core of knowledge management. Knowledge sharing is, therefore, vital for the success of a knowledge management system. One of the primary barriers to this success exists when there is no continuous flow of information and knowledge within an organisation. With the world economy becoming increasingly global, organisations have become more diversified than ever. When employees from various backgrounds come together in a company, knowledge sharing should take place in spite of cultural differences. In this research study diversification is concerned with social and cultural backgrounds. National culture and social backgrounds have been identified by researchers as factors that impact knowledge sharing. Diversified companies normally have a number of languages spoken amongst employees, since employees come from different ethnic groups, which all add to the task at hand with regard to successful knowledge management. Culture influences the way that people think, behave and the way in which they manage knowledge. Culture defines who people are, which certainly has an effect on knowledge management, hence the need to have a better understanding of culture and knowledge management. This research therefore, focuses mainly on information and knowledge sharing in socially and culturally diverse SMEs. There is a need to conduct more research in this area, since South Africa is a culturally diversified country.