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Paper info: Crossing cultural boundaries: knowledge sharing in intercultural business networks


Crossing cultural boundaries: knowledge sharing in intercultural business networks


Kristian Möller
Helsinki School of Economics
Kristian Möller and
Senja Svahn
Helsinki School of Economics
Senja Svahn

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 18th IMP-conference in Perth, Australia in 2002.


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Strategic business nets are increasingly important in producing economic value in theglobal arena. This paper examines the influence of national culture on knowledge sharingin different types of intercultural business nets. Knowledge sharing is essential forthe functioning of any business network as it influences the interaction between the actorsand the outcomes they can achieve. Cultural factors have for long been known toinfluence the communication and success potential of strategic alliances. Similarly, cultureis seen to shape how actors behave in business relationships and networks involvingpeople from several national cultures.Our basic assumption is that the nature of the cultures involved in the network and thetype of network both influence the knowledge sharing barriers. This issue is studiedthrough two conceptual frameworks. First, a framework identifying different types ofstrategic nets and the requirements they impose for knowledge sharing is proposed.Then a classification scheme of culture, based on the individualism-collectivism and thevertical-horizontal dimensions, is derived. The strategic-net and cultural types are thencombined in an intercultural business-net framework, and the opportunities and barriersof knowledge sharing are analysed by using examples representing Asian-Europeanand Asian-North America