The JGM BitBlog: Addressing the knowledge divide of globally dispersed employees during the pandemic

Journal of Global Mobility

Reimara Valk, American University in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Gabriella Planojevic, Aramex International, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

In the 21st century digital knowledge economy, the effective creation, distribution and utilization of knowledge in an organization is important for enhancing an organisation’s  competitive strength in a global business environment and to compete successfully in globalized markets. Technology-enabled knowledge-sharing (KS) and social learning (SL) have become critical for organizations to be able to respond to emerging global risks and catastrophic extra-organizational events and crises, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. At the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, organisations, particularly those operating globally, have acknowledged the importance of digital transformation and implementing disruptive technologies and effective mechanisms for cross-border digital KS and SL.

The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic on digital KS and SL within organisations and the relation with individual and organisational outcomes.

The research method was a qualitative case study action research within a leading global provider of comprehensive logistics and transportation solutions; 22 employees from various geographically dispersed entities were selected through purposive sampling. Employees took part in interviews to explore their perspectives on and experiences with digital KS and SL.

Findings first show that successful digital KS and SL hinges on the motivation, intentions, attitude and behaviour of employees to share and co-create knowledge embedded in supportive KS culture and climate. Second, findings show that the implementation of knowledge sharing platforms customised to the needs and preferences of employees within the case study organisation facilitated KS and SL.  In turn, this aided the development of individual and organisational capability, agility and adaptability required in the contemporary, digital knowledge economy, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Forming and sustaining networks of influencers, i.e. employees who are role models of digital KS and SL, who serve as strong advocates and ambassadors for instilling a KS culture and climate within the organisation have a powerful influence on evoking digital KS and SL organisation-wide.

The contribution of this paper is that it presents an evidence-based “Digital Knowledge Sharing and Social Learning model” depicting the factors that influence digital KS and SL, the benefits and outcomes. This model aids researchers and practitioners to better understand the dynamics of digital KS and SL between organisational members in a cross-cultural business environment during times of crises.

To read the full article, please see the Journal of Global Mobility publication:

Valk, R. and Planojevic, G. (2021), "Addressing the knowledge divide: digital knowledge sharing and social learning of geographically dispersed employees during the COVID-19 pandemic", Journal of Global Mobility, Vol. 9 No. 4, pp. 591-621.