4 Replies Latest reply on Apr 20, 2009 8:42 AM by Ted Hopton

    Does the culture of a wiki "overrule" the culture of its users?

      Hi!

       

      I'm currently working on my MA thesis on international knowledge sharing via wikis, and my research is primarily focused on the communication between its users. I'm especially interested in the communication between users who have no prior knowledge of each other, and therefore need to establish some sort of trust and credibility before being able to do any actual knowledge sharing. In connection with this, I'm also interested in knowing if and how culture has an effect on this process.

       

      So, my question is, what is your experince in terms of international knowledge sharing, and the issues that may or may not come up, when people from different cultures are to communicate and collaborate with each other?

       

      Could a wiki reach a point where the culture of the wiki simpy overrules the culture of its users?

       

      I would love to hear your opinions and experience with this topic

       

      Cheers!

      Line

        • Re: Does the culture of a wiki "overrule" the culture of its users?

          Are you talking about knowledge sharing amongst international workers in a company?  If so,it would probably depend on the strength of that company's culture throughout the globe.  If it has a culture of openness, I would imagine things would go more smoothly than if it didn't.

           

          Could a wiki reach a point where the culture of the wiki simpy overrules the culture of its users?  I'm not sure what you mean by overruling the culture of its users.  Perhaps if multiple cultures collaborate with each other, there could be a blending of cultures over time.  Or maybe the dissimilar cultures wouldn't collaborate with each other, forming silos.

           

          Perhaps you could interview contributors to Wikipedia.  That is a good example of world-wide wiki collaboration.

          • Re: Does the culture of a wiki "overrule" the culture of its users?
            Are you talking about knowledge sharing amongst international workers in a company?

            Hi David, and yes I am And in reference to that...

             

            Could a wiki reach a point where the culture of the wiki simpy overrules the culture of its users?

            ...I'm interested in finding out if members of a wiki, i.e. the ones using it for knowledge sharing, find it difficult to share knowledge with people from other cultures. Or if they, over time, develop a community of practice in which their cultural bacgrounds are no longer an issue, because they experience a sense of belonging to the wiki-community and the wiki's "culture."

             

            Perhaps you could interview contributors to Wikipedia.  That is a good example of world-wide wiki collaboration.

            Yes, that would be a good idea. I have a few cases lined up for interviews as well. However, I'm always interested in hearing more opinions. The more I can get, the stronger my arguments will be

             

            Thank you for your comments!

            • Re: Does the culture of a wiki "overrule" the culture of its users?
              So, my question is, what is your experince in terms of international knowledge sharing, and the issues that may or may not come up, when people from different cultures are to communicate and collaborate with each other?

               

              I am a sysop and long time editor at Wikipedia. Here is my userpage there. If interested, we can have a chat about the above.

               

              -- Jossi

              • Re: Does the culture of a wiki "overrule" the culture of its users?
                Ted Hopton

                Hi, Line,

                 

                Just stumbled across this thread. We're a case study for you We're seven months into our deployment of Jive Clearspace (we call it "the wiki" internally), and we're a global enterprise.

                 

                I'm the community manager and so I deal with our wiki users from all around the world. I certainly have noted and at times felt frustrated by cultural attitudes about information sharing that I have encountered.

                 

                I think your hypothesis is on target. Take our Asian divisions, for example, where execs have told me they have a very hard time getting people to share information. Yet, these same execs are surprised at the amount of participation in the wiki among their staff. Mind you, they still lag behind most of their American and European peers, but we're not even a year in (and the system is dreadfully slow for them, too, which discourages usage).

                 

                I'd bet that over time we are going to see the culture of the wiki overrule the local cultures in a number of ways. Please feel free to contact me if you'd like to discuss offline (obviously I can't post much in detail here).