Knowledge Management: The influence of Japanese (or even Eastern) management practices

[German title: Wissensmanagement: Der Einfluß von japanischen (oder sogar orientalischen) Managementmethoden]

Title: Let’s get natural: The discourse of community and the problem of transferring practices in knowledge management 
Author(s): Ajay Bhalla, Joseph Lampel 
Journal: Management Decision 
ISSN: 0025-1747 
Year: 2007 Volume: 45 Issue: 7 Page: 1069 – 1082 
DOI: 10.1108/00251740710773916 
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Limited 

Abstract: Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to argue that the influence of Japanese management practices has led organizations towards a “naturalized” view aiming to resolve the ontological dilemmas that exist between communalism and individualism.
Design/methodology/approach – Having conducted an extensive literature review, the paper draws on literature and examples to construct the argument that for organizations to benefit from Communities of Practice they need to balance the tension between practice and process of such initiatives.
Findings – The influence of Japanese knowledge management practices on the more general phenomenon of transferring practices is twofold. On the one hand, the Japanese precedent has legitimized radical rethinking of management practices which were strongly influenced by rational views of organizations, and on the other hand it provided models which experimenters could emulate.
Practical implications – Looking to the future of KM, it is important that researchers and practitioners acquire deeper understanding of how practices are translated from one context to another. This does not only apply to transferring practices between contexts that are clearly as different as Japan and the USA, or Europe, but also between industries that may appear to operate in the same context. Second, following the Japanese economic crises in the 1990s we are witnessing the fascinating phenomenon of Japanese firms seeking to revitalize their innovative capacity by looking to Western knowledge management practices (Kodama).
Originality value – This paper explores the issue of how the management of knowledge has increasingly become “naturalized” by importing Japanese (or even Eastern) management practices to resolve the ontological dilemmas that exist between communalism and individualism. 

Keywords: Communities, Japanese management styles, Knowledge management 

Article Type: Conceptual paper 

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© Emerald Group Publishing Limited 

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