Knowledge as a network package - Academic Conferences Limited

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Nov 6, 2013 (3 years and 10 months ago)

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Professor Nigel J Holden©

Lancashire Business School, UK

__________________

11
th

European Conference on Knowledge Management

Famalicão
, Portugal

September 2010


Overview of presentation



Opening salvo


The world we are in


Knowledge as a network package


Translation as an analogue of knowledge transfer


Modelling transfer as translation


‘Even though we work hard ...’

Opening salvo





In order to understand how to make KM
more productive in international business,
the world needs all the help it can get.

The world we are in …



‘Every day in the domain of worldwide business,
millions of cross
-
cultural interactions take place,
linking buyers with suppliers and suppliers with
customers and an array of stakeholders. Relationships
are forged and networks are consolidated ....’

The world we are ...



These buyers, suppliers and stakeholders ‘are
engaged in immense acts of knowledge co
-
creation,
involving the cross
-
cultural blending and integration
of information, perceptions and

in a high proportion
of cases

mistaken impressions’

(Holden and
Glisby
,
2010).

Knowledge as a ‘process
-
relational’* network package




A process
-
relational network package of explicit and tacit
elements intended for (very) different operational
environments or contexts



Knowledge is assembled in networks for use in other
networks



So the art of KM ...


*(
Nonaka

et al., 2008)











The art of KM ...




Lies in converting a knowledge package, designed in
one environment (or culture) , into a package that
does not merely suit, but
resonates with

the network
characteristics of the target environment(s).



This means more than
mere

transfer …


Transfer and translation
as
metaphor



‘ “
Translating
” one’s knowledge from one’s own
cultural context …’ (
Hurn
, 1996)


In a knowledge transfer process ‘knowledge is
translated

into a form usable by others’ (Dixon, 2000)


‘…
translating

new knowledge into new ways of
behaving’ (Garvin, 1998)


Knowledge in organisation exists to be ‘
translated

into
manageable topics’ (
Bukh

et al., 2005)

But what about translation
as an analogue

of the KM transfer process?



Translation intelligibly transposes meanings from one
cultural environment into another environment


The goal is (almost) always a good translation (it has to
be!)



So can we learn something useful from what
constrains a good translation?

Levels of translation adequacy

1. Virtually
all the
information
is conveyed

4. The
general idea
is conveyed

2. Most of
the
information
is conveyed

3. Sufficient
information
is conveyed
for action or
decision

Based on
Pinchuk
, 1977

By analogy,
what level of
‘translation
adequacy’
are KM
professionals
satisfied

with?

Three constraints on a good
translation

Glisby

and Holden©

Lack of equivalence


Examples from language



Russia: KM terminology in
Russian



Buzz words like ’change’,
’excellence’, ‘empower’,
‘resilience.’



Forms of address (use of
names and titles), words
for ’you’


Real
-
world examples:
networks



West: straight lines and
nodes



Japan: human pulsations



China: pull of family
obligations with a cautious
eye on the authorities

Cultural interference


Examples from language



Japanese English: ‘It is
(very) difficult’



English German:
‘ I
ch
glaube schon’ (I think so)



World English: ‘No
problem!’








Real
-
world examples



China: failure to translate a
technical document for a foreign
employer and the unforeseen
consequences



Russia: waste of 3
bn

euros

on
EU
-
funded management
programmes (1991
-
2003)



Any
international merger






Ambiguity


Examples from language



Russian English: ‘Aviator
course’ for ‘pilot scheme’



Japanese English: ‘blue’
may be ‘green’ to non
-
Japanese



Any

document that claims
to be ‘an in
-
depth analysis’






Real
-
world examples
which change situations



The translator or
interpreter adds or
withholds information to
be ‘helpful’ or polite



Failures to make sense of
others’ contexts (often
through ethnocentric
presumption)

Model of network knowledge
creation

Source: Holden, N. J. and
Glisby
,
M. ©
(2010)

TACIT
CORRIDORS

Individual

Organization

Network

Organization

coupling

coupling

coupling

Towards another model


The previous model is theoretically useful, but we
need something serviceable for practitioners



Premise 1: knowledge flows in international business
are disrupted or put under strain at interfaces
involving individuals and organisations


Premise 2: knowledge flows are improved or repaired
by coupling through identifying and neutralising the
impacts due to lack of equivalence, cultural
interference and ambiguity

Glisby

and Holden@

This model has great potential if
managers if ...



Managers accept that tacit knowledge:



is crossed
-
culturally created at all manner of
interfaces;


acts as a subliminal influence on relationships and, by
extension, KM as a practice;


combines language and cultural factors to add mood
and tone to this knowledge.



It’s all about the right antenna. ..





'Even though we work hard, if we do not have an
antenna that can sense a signal, we cannot pick it up.’



-

Yasuhito Takasu, General Manager, DENSO
Corporation (cited in

Holden and
Glisby
, 2010)


Thank you very much for your
attention.

References


Bukh
, P., Johansen, M. and
Mouritsen
, J. (2005). Developing the strategy for knowledge
management. In:
Bukh
, P., Christensen, K. and
Mouritsen
, J. (
eds
).
Knowledge
management and intellectual capital.
London: Palgrave, pp. 70
-
84.


Dixon, N. (2000).
Common knowledge: how companies thrive by sharing what they know.
Boston, Mass.: Harvard Business School Publishing.


Garvin, D. (1998). Building a learning organization.
Harvard Business Review on
knowledge management.

Boston, Mass.: Harvard Business School Publishing.


Holden, N. J. and
Glisby
, M. (2010).

Creating knowledge advantage: the tacit dimensions
of international competition and collaboration.
Copenhagen: Copenhagen Business
School Press.


Hurn
, B. (1996). Intercultural transfer of skills and knowledge.
Cross
-
cultural
management: An international journal.

Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 18
-
31.


Nonaka
, I., Toyama, R. and Hirata, T. (2008).
Managing flow: A process theory of the
knowledge
-
based firm.
London: Palgrave.


Pinchuk
, I. (1977).
Scientific and technical translation.
London: André Deutsch