Global Health Emergency, Risk and Knowledge Management Across Cultures

Call for papers for: Journal of Knowledge Management

Guest Editors

Professor Tachia CHIN, Zhejiang University of Technology, China
[email protected]

Professor Shouyang WANG, Academy of Mathematics and Systems Science and University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
[email protected]

Professor Chris ROWLEY, Kellogg College, University of Oxford, UK and City’s Business School, University of London, UK
[email protected]

The incredibly fast-moving coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has evolved to be a worldwide pandemic that has brought unprecedent changes to and caused profound and long-term impacts on the integration of global cultures, economies, and politics. However, we are still far short of the knowledge on tackling COVID-19 related issues, especially when the governments’ responses and people’s reactions to such a global public health emergency (GPHE) have unveiled significant cultural differences.  For instance, many countries with collective cultures in Eastern Asia immediately imposed regulations forcing people to wear face masks and individuals caught without one might be seen as a virus threat to others; however, in UK, US, and Australia with individualistic cultures, it's perfectly acceptable to walk around bare-faced in the beginning of the COVID-19, and their governments took some time to make wearing face coverings mandatory in crowed areas.  In fact, the COVID-19 has led to the collision between Western and Eastern cultures in many aspects and at ever-increasing velocity, among which the continuously deteriorating Sino-U.S. political and trade conflicts appear to be the most typical and most representative event.  Moreover, one of the most paramount consequences of the COVID-19 lies in its force to wreak havoc in economically and institutionally fragile regions, as it is important for countries to scramble for limited yet valuable resources at this critical time. 

Whereas a serious global health emergency like the COVID-19 trigger fierce competitions, conflicts and unrest at the individual, organizational and national levels, it can be deemed as a severe test to the crisis and emergency management systems of every nation and every organization.  Facing a crucial period of GPHE, it is imperative to identify, develop and acquire the meta knowledge of ones’ own and other cultures, so as to devise and build effective knowledge management (KM) systems for coping with public health crises and risks beyond borders. The topics of KM across cultures, therefore, have drawn increasing attention nowadays.

A plethora of studies have addressed the critical role of KM in multi-cultural environments with manifold institutional logics such as multinational enterprises (MNEs), international strategic alliances and cross-cultural business models (e.g., Chin, Wang, and Rowley, 2020; Papa et al., 2018; Buckley, Doh, and Benischke, 2017; Del Giudice, Carayannis, and Maggioni, 2017a; Scuotto et al., 2017; Sarala et al., 2016; Beveren and John, 2003; Fletcher-Brown, Carter, Pereira and Chandwani, 2020); most recognize the complexity and difficulty in knowledge flows- particularly about the tacit dimension of knowledge (Nonaka, and Toyama, 2003)- between individuals and organizations with heterogeneous cultural values (e.g., sharing, integrating and codifying knowledge) (Del Giudice et al., 2017b; Souza, Baroni, Choo, Castro and Barbosa, 2020).  It is primarily because diverse cultures obscure the establishment of higher-order organizing principles like social norms, working values and practical reasoning and thereby often result in the emergence of a knowledge iceberg phenomenon in such contexts.  As illuminated by Wang and Chin (2020), the salient cross-cultural discrepancies in cognition not only perplex the defining of knowledge but also affect what and how knowledge is interpreted, created and applied in inter-organizational arrangements across borders. Viewed from this angle, the GPHE seems to offer a new, dynamic and highly uncertain context for scholars to reassess existing KM and international business theories by examining whether and how these theories are sufficient to explain newly emerging issues or should be enriched or renewed.

In line with the above point of view, scholars have called for adopting new ways of thinking to the development and utilization of knowledge as well as the corresponding KM practices in the modern, internet-driven business ecosystem riddled with ambiguities and intricacies (Santoro, Bresciani, and Papa, 2018; Singh, Chandwani and Kumar, 2018; Nambisan, Zahra and Luo, 2019; Sánchez-Polo, Cegarra-Navarro, Cillo and Wensley, 2019).  Nevertheless, owing to too many types of knowledge being relevant to the organization (Mitchell and Boyle, 2010), hitherto no widely accepted consensus on the theory of KM across borders has been made (Zahra, Neubaum, and Hayton, 2020).  Likewise, the importance to KM of leaders and their effectiveness and skills (Rowley and Ulrich; 2012; Wang and Byrd, 2017; Rowley and Oh, 2019) has remained largely unexplored, which requires a deeper, more comprehensive investigation. 

It should be noted, in addition to placing great stress on the design, architecture and governance of the risk management systems at both the national and organizational levels, a severe GPHE is actually endangering people’s life and health. To combat such a life-threatening event, every human being may feel anxious but simultaneously has to care for and support one another regardless of their different races or social identities.  Evidence also indicates that there have been a few signs of governments trying to mitigate political tensions in the shadow of COVID-19 by providing humanitarian assistance to other countries. 

Taking together the discussions above, we thus contend that if this pandemic has elicited cross-cultural conflicts that may worsen economic, political, ethical and other types of major crises internationally, it will also create windows to improve these vital issues. We have witnessed a tremendous amount of new knowledge created across borders and cultures, which signifies bountiful research opportunities.  Without doubt, managing knowledge across cultures at the intersection of GPHE and its associated risks has become more important than ever, as it pertains to grand challenges for all individuals, organizations and societies to achieve true humanity.

This special issue (SI), therefore, encourages authors to conduct a fundamental re-thinking on KM across cultures from broader, interdisciplinary, unorthodox and even potentially controversial approaches in a highly uncertain time like this. More specifically, the aim of this SI is to gain a more holistic understanding of an uncharted area linking GPHE and contemporary cross-cultural concerns to risk and crisis management from a knowledge-based view. To help with the global response to the post COVID era, we also expect authors to provide fresh evidence and new insights that are instrumental in bridging the gap between theory and practice, and sincerely invite submissions related, but not necessarily limited, to the following themes:

  • How do nations and organizations identify, develop or acquire knowledge of ones’ own and other cultures to avoid cross-cultural clash and relevant political or economic risks and crises in coping with a GPHE like COVID-19?  How are these emerging new ideas conductive to the development of new/contemporary knowledge-based frameworks or theories?
  • What role should KM and KM systems at both macro and micro levels play in enhancing the effectiveness of cross-border risk and crisis planning, assessment and management in the face of GPHEs?
  • What imperative knowledge or KM practices, such as knowledge sourcing, learning, sharing, transferring and integrating, may affect cross-border risk and emergency management in GPHE events?  In what way? Through what mechanisms?  What industries and types of firms will be mostly influenced? From a KM perspective, how do these firms react to global health emergency events evaluable these effects and how to evaluate them?
  • What knowledge-based strategies may firms adopt to tackle business-related crises during and after a GPHE?  What is the role of entrepreneurship in such contexts?
  • What is the role in KM of leaders and their effectiveness and skills? How might they vary internationally and in different contexts?
  • What risks may employees from different cultures perceive during GPHEs? What KM techniques can the company use to support employees during the critical time?
  • What are the relationships among a GPHE, risk management and KM across cultures?  How do the characteristics of individuals, groups and leadership influence the above-mentioned relationships?
  • Is there any new conceptualization of cross-cultural KM or KM beyond borders under a specific, abnormal context of coping with unprecedented health emergencies and associated risks ranging from production, marketing to finance? What is the intrinsic motivation or philosophical basis?
  • What is the role of corporate social responsibility and social entrepreneurship at the intersection of GPHEs, risks and KM across cultures?

We welcome conceptual, theoretical, qualitative or quantitative papers. Contributions should report original research that is not under consideration at any other journal.  This call for papers is open and competitive, and all submitted papers will be subjected to anonymous review by referees with expertise in the field.

Review process for the selection and rejection of papers

Submitted papers will be subject to a double-blind review process and will be evaluated by the Guest Editors and expert reviewers. The final approval for publication will made by Editor-in-Chief. Authors should prepare their manuscripts for blind review.

Three online lectures will be organized by Zhejiang University of Technology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences and Yunnan University of Finance and Economics from March to November 2021.  Two SI workshops will be held in May 2021 and August 2021 in Yunnan and Hangzhou, respectively.  The schedule may be changed or delayed due to the COVID-19 situation.

The deadline for submissions of full papers is 31st October 2021.


Please submit enquiries directly to one of the above-mentioned guest editors


Manuscripts should be submitted via Emerald in the Article Type “Special Issue: Global Health Emergency, Risk and Knowledge Management Across Cultures”. Submissions should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. Refereeing and the selection of papers follow the normal standards of JKM. For details related to the format, please refer to the webpage:


Beveren, V. and John. (2003), “Does health care for knowledge management?”, Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 7 (1), pp. 90-95.

Buckley, P. J., Doh, J. P. and Benischke, M. H. (2017), “Towards a renaissance in international business research? Big questions, grand challenges, and the future of IB scholarship”, Journal of International Business Studies, Vol. 48 No. 9, pp. 1045–1064.

Chin, T., Wang, S. and Rowley, C. (2020), “Polychronic knowledge creation in cross-border business models: A Sea-like heuristic metaphor”, Journal of Knowledge Management,

Del Giudice, M., Carayannis, E.G. and Maggioni, V. (2017a), “Global knowledge intensive enterprises and international technology transfer: emerging perspectives from a quadruple helix environment”, Journal of Technology Transfer, Vol. 42 No. 2, pp. 229–235.

Del Giudice, M., Khan, Z., De Silva, M., Scuotto, V., Caputo, F., and Carayannis, E. (2017b). “The microlevel actions undertaken by owner‐managers in improving the sustainability practices of cultural and creative small and medium enterprises: A United Kingdom–Italy comparison.”, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Vol. 38 No. 9, pp. 1396-1414.

Fletcher-Brown, J., Carter, D., Pereira, V., and Chandwani, R. (2020), “Mobile technology to give a resource-based knowledge management advantage to community health nurses in an emerging economies context”, Journal of Knowledge Management, ahead-of-print(ahead-of-print).

Mitchell, R. and Boyle, B. (2010), “Knowledge creation measurement methods”, Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 14 No. 1, pp. 67-82.

Nambisan, S., Zahra, S. A., and Luo, Y. (2019), “Global platforms and ecosystems: Implications for international business theories”, Journal of International Business Studies,

Nonaka, I. and Toyama, R. (2003), “Knowledge-creating theory revisited: knowledge creation as a synthesizing process”, Knowledge Management Research & Practice, Vol. 1 No.1, pp. 2–10.

Papa A., Dezi L., Gregori G. L., Mueller J. and Miglietta N. (2018), “Improving innovation performance through knowledge acquisition: the moderating role of employee retention and human resource management practices”, Journal of Knowledge Management,

Rowley, C. and Ulrich, D. (2012), “Lessons learned and insights derived from leadership in Asia”. Asia Pacific Business Review, Vol. 18 No.4, pp. 675–681.

Rowley, C. and Oh, I. (2019), “New perspectives on East Asian leadership in the age of globalization: local grounding and historical comparisons in the Asia Pacific region”. Asia Pacific Business Review, Vol. 25 No.2, pp. 307–315.

Sánchez-Polo, M. T., Cegarra-Navarro, J. G., Cillo, V., and Wensley, A. (2019), “Overcoming knowledge barriers to health care through continuous learning”, Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 23(4).

Santoro, G., Bresciani, S., and Papa, A. (2018), “Collaborative modes with Cultural and Creative Industries and innovation performance: The moderating role of heterogeneous sources of knowledge and absorptive capacity”, Technovation, Vol 92–93,

Sarala, R. M., Cooper, C., Junni, P. and Tarba, S. (2016), “A socio-cultural perspective on knowledge transfer in mergers and acquisitions”, Journal of Management, Vol. 42 No.5, pp. 1230–1249.

Scuotto, V., Santoro, G., Bresciani, S. and Del Giudice, M. (2017), “Shifting intra- and inter-organizational innovation processes towards digital business: An empirical analysis of SMEs”, Creativity and Innovation Management, Vol. 26 No. 3, pp. 247-255.

Singh, J. B., Chandwani, R., Kumar, M., Carayannis, E., and Tsui, E. (2018), “Factors affecting web 2.0 adoption: exploring the knowledge sharing and knowledge seeking aspects in healthcare professionals”, Journal of Knowledge Management, 00-00.

Souza, V.P.d.P.d., Baroni, R., Choo, C.W., Castro, J.M.d. and Barbosa, R.R. (2020), "Knowledge management in health care: an integrative and result-driven clinical staff management model", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.

Wang, S. and Chin, T. (2020), “A stratified system of knowledge and knowledge icebergs in cross-cultural business models: Synthesizing ontological and epistemological views”, Journal of International Management,

Wang, Y., and Byrd, T. A. (2017), “Business analytics-enabled decision-making effectiveness through knowledge absorptive capacity in health care”, Journal of Knowledge Management.

Zahra, S. A., Neubaum, D. O. and Hayton, J. (2020), “What do we know about knowledge integration: Fusing micro- and macro-organizational perspectives”, Academy of Management Annals, Vol. 14 No. 1, pp. 160-194.