Title: The impact of ethnic and lingual diversity on short term knowledge sharing

Authors: Seyyedali Ziaei; Steven Walczak; Khalil Md Nor

Addresses: School of Management, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham Hill, Egham, Surrey, TW20 0EX, UK ' The Business School, University of Colorado Denver, 1475 Lawrence St., Office 5200, Denver, CO 80202, USA ' Faculty of Management, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, UTM Skudai, 81310 Johor, Malaysia

Abstract: Based on social categorisation theory and the similarity attraction paradigm, we propose that a high degree of ethno/lingo diversity in knowledge-intensive work groups, especially short-term ones, can inhibit knowledge sharing among members. Barriers identified in the knowledge sharing literature include trust, communication, and informal social interaction. A semi-quantitative approach was applied, involving a group collaborative decision making task. The results of the research task show that knowledge sharing within groups as a whole suffers as ethnic and linguistic diversity increase for short term groups. The findings provide a starting point for theory development and suggest creating more homogeneous groups for short-term tasks.

Keywords: ethnic diversity; ethnicity; knowledge management; KM; short term tasks; knowledge sharing; linguistic diversity; teams; work groups; teamwork; trust; communication; informal social interaction; group decision making; collaborative decision making.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBE.2014.063770

International Journal of Business Environment, 2014 Vol.6 No.3, pp.246 - 265

Received: 15 May 2013
Accepted: 31 May 2013

Published online: 21 Jul 2014 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article