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Organisational Culture Characteristics that Influence Knowledge Sharing: A Case Study on Multinational Project Teams in Latin America
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Strategic management of knowledge is considered one of the key factors for a sustainable competitive advantage. Knowledge sharing in particular is the most essential part of the knowledge management process. Its relation with the organisational culture has been the focus of attention of several studies especially in American, Asian and European companies.

Firms are organising their work around project and project teams. Moreover, multinational project teams are seen as a source for knowledge generation. They can provide information about the needs of customers geographically dispersed, from different cultural backgrounds, who speak different languages and with different set of preferences. Nevertheless, the temporary nature, uniqueness, and complexity of international projects present their own set of challenges and companies need to work different in order to achieve project success.

This study aims to analyse the organisational culture features that enhances or hinder the knowledge sharing process in multinational project teams working in Latin America. Although studies regarding the topic have been made before, they not provide empirical evidence or do not consider project teams working in a multinational environment. Furthermore, previous studies do not consider Latin American & Caribbean organisations, a region where foreign investment has continuously increased in the last decades and as a whole, is considered the third-fastest growing economy in the globe.

A mixed approach is used to answer the research question, a deductive rationale to create a theoretical framework and an inductive approach to provide some theoretical propositions based on the findings. Seven semi-structured interviews were done to analyse two cross-sectional case studies.

Our study identified several characteristics of organisational culture that influence knowledge sharing, some of them have a direct influence whereas others have an indirect influence. Speaking a different language and cultural differences are the main challenges faced by multinational project teams in order to enable knowledge sharing. Fear was also found to act as a barrier regarding the knowledge sharing process but is not specific only for this type of organisation. In contrast, trust in colleagues, positive relationships among employees and a culture of collaboration were found to enhance the knowledge sharing process but are not specific to multinational project teams.Finally, some managerial and theoretical implications are provided as well as suggestions for future research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 83 p.
Keyword [en]
organizational culture, knowledge sharing, organisational culture, knowledge transfer, multinational project teams, latin american project teams
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-115233OAI: diva2:899452
Available from: 2016-02-03 Created: 2016-02-02 Last updated: 2016-02-03Bibliographically approved

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