KFS (KM) in China:
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Intercultural challenges of knowledge focus strategy implementation in China

Bachelor Thesis, 28.2.2005
Department of International Business, Fachhochschule Furtwangen
By Stefan Broda (stefan.broda@gmx.de>)

Key words:
Knowledge Management, Knowledge Focus Strategies, China, Chinese Culture, Individualism vs. Collectivism, Guanxi, Face, Hierarchy, Low Context / High Context, Universalism vs. Particularism

China has experienced a tremendous growth over the last decade and more and more foreign companies invest in the country of the middle. While in its beginning, investments were mostly focused in the area of manufacturing, companies are seeking to create more value on-site. However, this shift in industry paradigm implies tremendous changes to working requirements - from managing assembly lines to managing knowledge work.

This thesis looks into what knowledge work implies for organizations; first by defining knowledge and then knowledge focus strategies (knowledge management. Then, a number of areas are identified where the specific characteristics of the Chinese culture can lead to challenges but also to synergy effects in knowledge work. The main focus thereby lies in the areas of individualism vs. collectivism, Guanxi, face, Hierarchy, Low Context / High Context, Universalism vs. Particularism and the use of technology to overcome language difficulties.

To demonstrate these findings in a practical environment, many examples an two business cases are integrated into the study which were produced from interview results with various professionals (Chinese and non-Chinese) in China. The thesis then concludes with a set of practical recommendations which result from the theoretical analysis and were proved by the lessons learned from the examples.

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