It is well known that Knowledge Management (“KM”) is a source, if not the primary source of competitive advantage in today’s business world. It is significant that knowledge is as important for the business and its legal departments within a company as it is for law firms. However, it appears that the law firms as well as legal company departments need to pay more attention to their primary source and develop a Knowledge Management Systems (“KMS”) that appreciates this. The aim of this research is to provide an understanding of how lawyers from different national cultures handle knowledge on a day-to-day basis. With this, it shall assist law firms as well as the management of legal departments to choose an appropriate KMS in order to gain a competitive advantage.
This purpose of this research is to illustrate how national culture influences the Knowledge Management Process (“KMP”) of a lawyer. The researcher uses the four dimensions of national culture developed by Hofstede to highlight the differences and show how this impacts the knowledge acquiring and accessing; knowledge creation; knowledge sharing and dissemination as well as the reuse of knowledge. In order to answer these questions, primary data was collected through in-depth semi-structured interviews of three lawyers from three different national cultures.
In short, the findings of this research conclude that national culture has an influence on how lawyers acquire and access knowledge, share and reuse it.
The researcher concludes that the differences in national culture influences the KMP and provides recommendations to endeavour to align the positive aspects of KM from the three different national cultures and reduce the negatives.
In addition, the researcher outlines recommendations for future research proposals, which arose during the course of this study and while conducting the interviews.