Presentation Details

The Fourth International Conference on Knowledge, Culture and Change in Organisations

Culture and Knowledge in Organisations and their Misunderstood Paradoxical Relation

Dr Kate MacKenzie-Davey, Yassaman Imani.

Ever since the start of organisational culture discourse in management literature, its ambiguous nature has baffled many academics and practitioners alike. Recently some of the debates on the role of knowledge in organisations and how best it can be nurtured, captured, and utilised have highlighted the role culture plays in these processes. Overall, the opinion is divided, either culture is assumed as appropriate, hence KM can reinforce it, or it is deemed as inappropriate, precipitating a culture change progamme which either precedes or accompanies KM. This approach, influenced by strategic choice theory, regards culture as a management tool which managers can change or modify as they wish.
This paper focuses on the impact of culture on KM and draws from a comprehensive study which explore the impact of issues such as strategy and culture on KM practices. The KM managers of 13 global firms were interviewed in depth and the findings provide interesting insights into how practitioners try to make sense of KM and ascertain its relevance to their companies with regards to culture, in the wake of confusing messages from academe. This paper also argues that managers regarded the relation between culture and KM as a dilemma, but this relationship could be more accurately described as a paradox, which the paper tries to explore its implications.


Dr Kate MacKenzie-Davey

Birkbeck College
University of London

Yassaman Imani  (United Kingdom)
Senior Lecturer in Strategic Management
Business school
University of Hertfordshire

I am a senior lecturer in strategic management and my area of research is on the learning processes and knowledge creation in organisations

  • Knowledge
  • Culture
  • Organisational change

(30 min Conference Paper, English)