Knowledge sharing in a non-native language context: Challenges and strategies


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Knowledge sharing is a language-based activity. With the rise of multilingual workforces and the adoption of common corporate languages, such as English, knowledge sharing is happening in non-native language contexts more than ever before. This article explores the challenges and strategies of knowledge sharing in a non-native language at the individual level. For this purpose, an exploratory case study was conducted in a multinational organisation. Results show that the use of a non-native language can make knowledge sharing an ambiguous and costly process, eroding some of the benefits of knowledge sharing. It was found that employees adopt three different strategies to deal with problems in the knowledge-sharing process caused using a non-native language. These strategies – namely, discourse adjustment, language adjustment and media adjustment – play an important role in the successful exchange of knowledge between linguistically diverse individuals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-264
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Information Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • Knowledge management
  • knowledge sharing
  • language diversity
  • multilingual workplaces
  • multinational organizations
  • multinational organisations


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