Year

2007

Degree Name

Master of Information Technology - Research

Department

School of Information Systems and Technology

Abstract

The rapid development of Knowledge Management System (KMS) indicates that organizations benefit from improved Knowledge Management (KM) capabilities. However, there is a need for more research into KMS implementation from a cultural perspective. Nonaka et al. (1995) argued that current KMS, which are designed and developed in Western contexts, have an “America bias”. Thus, Western ways of KMS implementation may have some weaknesses in guiding non-Western cultures to successfully employ KMS.

This thesis investigates the KMS implementation barriers in selected Chinese organizations. The research focuses on the importance of cultural factors in KMS implementation in a non-Western context. There are two main theories involved in this study: knowledge creating theory (Nonaka et al., 1995) and culture dimension theory (Hofstede, 1980). On the one hand, knowledge creating theory provides an insight into the construction, operation and implementation stage of KMS. Particularly, this theory, which is developed in a non-Western context (Japan), has some natural advantages in analysing cross-cultural implementation of KMS. On the other hand, the culture dimension theory is considered one of the most important milestones in cross-cultural research. In this theory, Hofstede’s (1980) explored cultural differences in the measurement of five dimensions by collecting and analysing valuable quantitative data which. Therefore, it is both reasonable and beneficial to bring these two significant tools together to reveal some potential barriers of implementing KMS cross-culturally.

This investigation opens a window on the current KMS implementation status in selected organizations in China. A number of barriers to effectively implementing KMS in Chinese organizations are identified. The thesis findings indicate the value of employing a cultural perspective on KMS implementation. Suggestions for raising attention in specific areas of KMS in implementation are given at the end.

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