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Identifying Cultural Barriers to Design Knowledge Flow in Chinese SMEs

[+] Author Affiliations
Zhinan Zhang, Youbai Xie

Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China

Gang Liu

Shanghai Baosteel Machinery Factory, Shanghai, China

Jun Liang

Baosteel Talent Development Institute, Shanghai, China

Paper No. ESDA2012-82577, pp. 739-744; 6 pages
  • ASME 2012 11th Biennial Conference on Engineering Systems Design and Analysis
  • Volume 3: Advanced Composite Materials and Processing; Robotics; Information Management and PLM; Design Engineering
  • Nantes, France, July 2–4, 2012
  • Conference Sponsors: International
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4486-1
  • Copyright © 2012 by ASME


In Chinese Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs), culture is one of the barriers which often plays an important role in the effective knowledge flow in their product design and development process. Investigations to designers from SMEs in China help us recognize several cultural barriers to this knowledge flow in the process of product design and development. This paper aims to identify those cultural barriers to knowledge flow in the design process of SMEs. Interviews with and questionnaires to designers from different SMEs were conducted. Empirical studies show that designers hesitate to share their knowledge; lack of trust and the thick wall among functional departments are major barriers influencing effective knowledge flows in the product design process. In addition, ongoing research on overcoming the identified cultural barriers to knowledge flow is also discussed briefly.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME



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