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Knowledge Transfer Processes in Japan and Germany : Some Empirical Evidence

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  • 知識移転プロセスに及ぼす文化的影響 : 日独多国籍企業を対象として

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Abstract

This paper explores cultural aspects of knowledge management and focuses onthe knowledge transfer processes within multinational corporations. Knowledge transfer transmits knowledge from one company unit to another to improve competitive advantages. However, transfer processes may be influenced by geographical distances as well as the cultural differences between the sender (unit) and the receiver (unit). This paper investigates these issues and presents results of an empirical investigation on knowledge transfer processes between Japanese and German company units. Its main objective is to analyze whether knowledge transfer activities are influenced by the fact that there are intercultural challenges to overcome. Three aspects of the knowledge transfer process are examined: the type of knowledge chosen to be transferred, the knowledge transfer instrument and knowledge implementation at the receiving unit. Hypotheses comparing Japanese and German knowledge transfer processes are defined and the results of a survey of 155 German and Japanese companies are presented. The results suggest that cultural differences do not have an impact on the type of knowledge transferred; however, they do have small influence on some of the transfer instruments senders chose. On the contrary, they strongly influence knowledge receivers' perceptions towards knowledge from overseas units.

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