Saving Face or Sharing Personal Information? A Cross-Cultural Study on Knowledge Sharing
Knowledge sharing within an organisation is increasingly important in today's fast-moving and knowledge-based economy (Chow et al., 2000, Journal of Management Accounting, 12, 65â95; Bukowitz and Petrash, 1997, Research Technology Management, 40, 24â31). This empirical study examines the interaction effects of national culture and group members' relationship (in-group/out-group) on knowledge-sharing attitude. A total of 197 Chinese undergraduate students and 111 American undergraduate students participated in the study. The first finding was that both Chinese and American students were more willing to share personal knowledge with in-group members than with out-group members. Furthermore, the results showed that same working experience between group members was more important than same national cultural background in determining people's attitude towards knowledge sharing. Another interesting finding was that Chinese participants were more willing to share personal information with an American stranger (out-group) than a Chinese stranger (in-group), while American participants showed no such difference. In summary, these findings indicate that a global organisation should take both national culture and in-group/out-group factors into consideration to facilitate knowledge sharing.
Knowledge sharing, cross-cultural collaboration, in-group/out-group effect, face saving theory
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