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Lost in Transfer? Exploring the Influence of Culture on the Transfer of Knowledge Categories

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-11-17, 19:12 authored by Obinna Alo


Accepted author manuscript


Supported  by an extensive review of four-domains of literature (knowledge  management, organisational learning, culture, and retail), this study  examines the influence of national culture on transfer of knowledge  categories in top supermarkets in Africa and the United Kingdom (UK).  Data from in-depth semi-structured interviews with 40 store managers  (SMs) was used to examine how the SMs transfer the five sales  performance drivers – selling-related knowledge, the  degree-of-adaptiveness, role-clarity, cognitive-aptitude, and  work-engagement – to their subordinates. 

The study finds these UK  supermarkets’ knowledge transfer (KT) practices as embedded in  Problem-Based Learning (PBL) and project-based learning. SMs from  African supermarkets exploit various opportunities to build  interpersonal relationships and trust with knowledge-holders, thereby  facilitating learning and KT. This study links such behaviours to  ‘Ubuntu’ – a well-established African philosophy/ethics. The study finds  socialisation, externalisation, and internalisation as common knowledge  assets in African supermarkets, in contrast to socialisation and  externalisation in their UK counterparts. This study found that, despite  these variations in their strategic priorities regarding knowledge  assets, these five sales performance drivers are transferred  successfully in the supermarkets in both continents that participated in  the research. This offers a new insight that challenges the extant  theorising that KT praxis varies between diverse cultures.