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Imbalance and Isolation: How Team Configurations Affect Global Knowledge Sharing

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  • Ambos, Tina C.
  • Ambos, Björn
  • Eich, Katharina J.
  • Puck, Jonas

Abstract

This study investigates knowledge sharing in globally dispersed teams with distinctive geographical and cultural configurations. We provide fresh insights by contrasting international business and social identity theory and suggest that configurational asymmetries, namely imbalance and isolation, affect team members' average perceptions of knowledge sharing processes and outcomes. We test our hypotheses in the context of a multinational software corporation, drawing on a sample of 171 responses from team-members of 40 nationalities in 45 locations. Supporting social identity theory, our results show that our configurational variables – geographical and cultural imbalance – negatively affect knowledge sharing. The highest negative impact is observed in teams with geographically or culturally isolated members. Interestingly, we find no adverse effects of cultural and geographical distance (separation) that have been in the center of a large stream of research in international business.

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  • Ambos, Tina C. & Ambos, Björn & Eich, Katharina J. & Puck, Jonas, 2016. "Imbalance and Isolation: How Team Configurations Affect Global Knowledge Sharing," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 316-332.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:intman:v:22:y:2016:i:4:p:316-332
    DOI: 10.1016/j.intman.2016.03.005
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    5. Jimenez, Alfredo & Boehe, Dirk M. & Taras, Vasyl & Caprar, Dan V., 2017. "Working Across Boundaries: Current and Future Perspectives on Global Virtual Teams," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 341-349.
    6. Sheng, Margaret L. & Hartmann, Nathaniel N., 2019. "Impact of subsidiaries' cross-border knowledge tacitness shared and social capital on MNCs' explorative and exploitative innovation capability," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 25(4).
    7. Zakaria, Norhayati & Mohd Yusof, Shafiz Affendi, 2020. "Crossing Cultural Boundaries Using the Internet: Toward Building a Model of Swift Trust Formation in Global Virtual Teams," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 26(1).
    8. Pandey, Jatin & Gupta, Manish & Behl, Abhishek & Pereira, Vijay & Budhwar, Pawan & Varma, Arup & Hassan, Yusuf & Kukreja, Priyam, 2021. "Technology-enabled knowledge management for community healthcare workers: The effects of knowledge sharing and knowledge hiding," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 787-799.
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