Affiliated Organization

Case Western Reserve University, USA


An increasing number of global organizations have adopted knowledge management practices and implemented worldwide knowledge management systems utilizing global communication networks and collaborative technology. The existing literature on knowledge management has focused on a common, firm-wide approach to knowledge sharing. Substantial differences exist, however, among the sub-units within many global organizations in terms of strategic, operational, and socio-cultural contexts. Such differences in the environments lead to internal differences in knowledge sharing practices. A field study at four offices of a large, global management consulting firm revealed that knowledge sharing practices at local offices were shaped by the unique strategic roles of the offices. The results suggest that global organizations must, contrary to the frequently-suggested uniform approach, understand the the strategic roles of the local units, and consider these in designing knowledge management support tools and practices.