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Knowledge Sharing and National Culture - A Comparison Between China and Russia

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Much of the knowledge management literature tends to assume a rather universalistunderstanding of knowledge sharing. Yet, attitudes to knowledge sharing as well as actualknowledge-sharing behaviour depend on conditions that vary across institutional and culturalenvironments. This paper contributes to the knowledge-sharing literature by specificallydiscussing the interplay between knowledge-sharing and national cultural factors in the context oftransition countries. The paper engages in a comparative examination of two major transitionsocieties, China and Russia, and contributes to understanding the complexity of differencesbetween transition economies. The paper is written as a set of theoretical arguments andpropositions that is designed to elucidate more nuanced ways of thinking about knowledgesharing in China and Russia. We argue that in the case of China and Russia, verticalindividualism and particularist social relations facilitate knowledge sharing. We also maintainthat there are important differences between China and Russia in terms of motivation forknowledge sharing and propose that the differences between the two countries in terms of originsof collectivism and degree of collectivism impact on knowledge sharing in organisations in thesetwo countries. Research and management implications are also outlined.Keywords: China, knowledge sharing, national culture, Russia

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Snejina Michailova, Kate Hutchings

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