Knowledge Sourcing Across Cultures: Impacts of Formality of Knowledge Sources and Equivocality

Project: Research

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Advanced information/collaborative technologies are offering knowledge workers unprecedented access to knowledge resources not traditionally available. Now they can not only access knowledge sources formally sanctioned by their organizations, but also tap into their social networks (e.g. discussion boards, SIG-based Wikis, communities of practice). While wider access appears to be better, it is unclear how knowledge professionals of different national cultures respond to, effectively utilize, and leverage on these arrays of knowledge sources.This research comprises two experimental studies. It first investigates how knowledge from different online sources (formal versus social) would affect perceptions of knowledge usability across cultures. National cultures and their individual level manifestations differ along several dimensions, such as individualism-collectivism, power distance, and uncertainty avoidance. The research then probes into sourcing patterns of individual knowledge workers when both knowledge sources are available, with/out equivocal information. The findings can provide insights on how culture affects perceptions of knowledge from different sources. Consequently, more effective ways of acquiring online knowledge could be devised for knowledge workers of different national cultures. This is particularly pertinent for organizations in Hong Kong involved in global projects that manage and coordinate the work of cross-border knowledge workers.


Project number9041289
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/01/0825/03/11