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Online Knowledge Sharing in a Multinational Corporation: Chinese versus American Practices

Wei Li, Steve Downey and Tim Wentling

(Submission #58)


In-depth interviews were conducted with Chinese and American users of a knowledge sharing system, pseudo-named Knowledge Everywhere (KE), being employed by a Fortune 100 company with operations in over 100 countries. The intent of these interviews was to identify factors influencing knowledge sharing behaviors among Chinese and American users of the KE system. Interview questions were framed using the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (Ventakesh, et al., 2003). Three primary conclusions emerged from the findings generated from the interviews. First, there is a perceived disconnect between knowledge sharing system usage and daily job performance. Second, language is primarily a one-way barrier to knowledge sharing and not two-way as many practitioners believe. Third, cultural conservatism and perceived differences in practices hinders Chinese users’ willingness to share and as a result gives the false impression that Chinese employees hoard information.


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