Essay on Knowledge Management Challenges in Joint Ventures and International Alliances

Published: 2022/01/11
Number of words: 1693


Organizations have in the recent decades concentrated in Joint Ventures and international alliances. Such activities have made such organizations attain a competitive edge in the market. This paper illustrates the various challenges an organization face in such unions. It also emphasizes on different models and theories to joint and international ventures for organizations.


Knowledge management is a critical aspect for the management of organizations. Management of knowledge in the organization assists an organization in multiple ways. Through knowledge management, organization is able to meet its goals effectively, efficiently and according to set procedures. Joint ventures and international alliances has become a constant feature in today’s organizations. According to Kuo-Cheng Wensley and Hsing-Pei (2008), when an organization opens up its doors to such strategies, they need to be ready to manage their knowledge capacities. For example, an organization may develop a model in managing its production schedules. The model may be between firms or Joint alliances. The model needs to consider several aspects in order to meet the desired goals by both organizations.

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Sanchez and Mahoney (2002) states that the model may be of long-termed or short termed. This model may draw its application from the use of contingency theory; it can also represent a transactional theory or a congruence approach to management. Therefore, one can state that organizations representative of Joint Ventures, partnerships and organizations of International alliances are network organizations (Phelps, 2010). If such organizations hold their production activities consistently and in congruence, they are indeed network organizations.

Because these organizations undertake their production tasks together, they need to have structured collaborative processes. However, these interactions may be favourable only according to the terms of their engagements (David and Liam 2000). This then means that such organizations face diverse challenges in their processes. Such challenges relate to the costs of production, economic, legal and Knowledge management (Moffat and Archer, 2004). Of all of these categories of aspects that organizations face, one needs to consider knowledge management as the most important.

Knowledge Management in Joint Ventures partnerships

Knowledge management in joint ventures includes factors that illustrate organizational characteristics, contextual and work mechanisms. These aspects closely relate to the acquisition, management and adaptation to knowledge influences (Kuo-Cheng et al 2008). For joint ventures to survive in promoting its goals, consideration needs to be on their adaptation, capacity of its teams to learn, learning structures, technology, managerial assistance and availability if training facilities. However, these are just some of the challenges that an organization may face in its knowledge management. Other factors to consider include the possibility of cultural influences, legal aspects of the organization, terms of the contract and different dimensions to evaluation.

Organizational learning Theory

Knowledge acquisition is an important aspect for joint ventures. Lyles and Salk (1996) state that, Knowledge acquisition in organizations influences performance and other social goals. Therefore, organizations have been for decades using this principle in meeting their goals. This then means that such organizations have to be able to distinguish between building competence skills and in meeting performance goals. Joint venture organizational goals illustrate relational goals (Mårtensson, 2000). Such goals may be a representation of two or more organizational goals in collaboration.

Knowledge adaptation and acquisitions are important aspects in the management of Joint ventures. Such aspects need to be part of the strategies for organizations in joint ventures. Knowledge is an important human action that assist individuals develop their competency and skills. Moffat and Archer (2004) further state that, organizations need to develop strategic policies on knowledge development, acquisition and management. With respect to international joint Ventures and organizations in Joint venture agreements, there is a need for combining different knowledge properties in order to create new knowledge. Then, there is a need to develop training and educational programs applicable for all partners. In developing such programs, knowledge managers need to ensure that their structures, goals and processes yield tacit knowledge (Mårtensson, 2000).

Knowledge management is a strategic goal for Joint Venture organizations. This is therefore, the role of top managers. These managers need to have skills, used their work related experiences and able to institute learning processes (Lyles and Salk, 1996). They may institute learning in organizations through development of organizational structures and in encouraging learning. The management teams may also ensure learning in these organizations through encouraging sharing of experiences and previous learning aspects. These managers on the other hand, need to define their knowledge structures. These structures ensure that learning takes place in an environment suitable for employee needs. For organizations, the use of core sets of beliefs and notion of self- belief assist in learning.

Simonin (2004) emphasizes that, top managers assist employees build their own self-identity, which eventually fosters learning in the whole organization. Knowledge acquisition in organizations relates to organizational experiences and influence from its members. This influence for decades has had an influence in knowledge development that has seen joint ventures thrive. Laying emphasis on knowledge management one can acquire knowledge through “grafting”. Grafting is the process where an individual may acquire knowledge through interaction with special individuals. For Joint Ventures, individuals may acquire knowledge through special expatriates or experts (Lyles and Salk, 1996). Although knowledge acquisition is a function of the top management team, individuals may acquire it through socialization. Knowledge acquisition through this approach may be either unconscious or conscious.

Knowledge management in International Alliances

Chun and Bontis (2002), comment that Strategic alliances of an international nature have become a feature for organizations. Organizations in today’s economic conditions have to be in alliances in order to remain competitive. While applying theories and models that promote international alliances, organizations benefit in several ways. These strategies improve organizational knowledge management functions, improve its internal coordination, and eliminate problems relating to interventions and accountability (Simonin, 2004). Concentrating on the knowledge management property, organization needs to make learning one of their important areas.

Theories and Models

By improving its knowledge, management organizations are able to leverage feedback and lessons learnt through previous and ongoing alliances. Most of these organizations establish system phases as well as lifecycles in ensuring knowledge management. Such a lifecycle would include timelines, schedule and tools. The learning process would include a dedicated function, management process and procedure manuals (Phelps, 2010). In order for the model to be effective, there should be external as well as internal support. Once the time of such engagements have lapsed, it is important for both organizations to assess the process. There are diverse theories and models on international alliances in the present market.

These would include models on restructuring and structuring, the model on Uni-polarity, theory on costs or network theories. Network theories of international alliances would see organizations develop structures that foster unity. Organizations on the other end employ restructuring and structuring models in order to meet certain deficiencies (Dalkir, 2013). Uni-polarity models on international alliances refer to these organizations having similar Knowledge management strategies (Chun and Bontis, 2002). Organizations on international alliances may apply any of these as a strategic function. Application of these theories and models in organizations would eventually lead to an improvement in practices, improve organizational market gains and in attracting better partnership.

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Knowledge management Challenges

Organizations face different challenges in applying its Knowledge management strategies. These challenges results from either internal influences or external influences. In relation to internal factors, one may emphasize on internal politics, policies and competencies of team members in organizations (Kuo-Cheng et al 2008). It is evident that, in alliances of international, Joint venture and partnerships, there are multiple challenges in implementing Knowledge management goals. These eventualities relates to perceptions, politics and influence of organizational culture (David and Liam 2000). External factors to the organization would include policies, legal frameworks, trade rules and government influences. Knowledge management challenges on alliances have an influence on the functions of the organization. Lack of key competency skills in organizations may lead to poor performance of functions.

It is therefore, important for organizations to improve its knowledge base since it assists in decision-making. Today’s managers face multiple challenges in instituting knowledge management functions. These challenges revolves around organizational culture, organizational structures (David and Liam 2000). Technology on the other hand, has been on great importance to organizations. Today’s managers unlike traditional practitioners need to utilize technology in management and communicating. This aspect has become a challenge since it requires managers to be competent in using such innovations (Sanchez and Mahoney, 2002). These developments on alliances would result in increased cost of production. Other challenges would relate to the possibility of managers sharing the leadership role, and in analysis of performance.


The above diagram gives the reader some of the challenges an organization faces in international alliances.

Reference list

Lyles, A., and Salk. E. 1996. “Knowledge acquisition from foreign parents in international joint ventures: An empirical examination in the Hungarian context.” Journal of international business studies 27 Pp: 877-904.

Simonin, B, L. 2004. “An empirical investigation of the process of knowledge transfer in international strategic alliances.” Journal of international business studies 35(5) Pp: 407-427.

Moffat, L and Archer, N. 2004. “ Knowledge Management in Production Alliances. Information systems and E-business management. Springer- Verlag.

Dalkir, K 2013. Knowledge management theory and practice. Routledge.

Sanchez, R, and Mahoney, T. 2002. “Modularity, flexibility and knowledge management in product and organization design.” Managing in the modular age: architectures, networks, and organizations Pp: 362.

Mårtensson, M.2000. “A critical review of knowledge management as a management tool.” Journal of knowledge management 4(3) Pp : 204-216.

David, W., and Liam F. 2000 “Diagnosing cultural barriers to knowledge management.” The Academy of management executive 14 (4) Pp: 113-127.

Chun W, C and Bontis, N.2002. The strategic management of intellectual capital and organizational knowledge. Oxford University Press, 2002.

Kuo-Cheng, K, Wensley, A and Hsing-Pei, K. 2008. Ontology- Based Knowledge Management For Joint Venture Projects. Expert systems with applications. 35. Pp:187- 197

Phelps, C, C.2010. “A longitudinal study of the influence of alliance network structure and composition on firm exploratory innovation.” Academy of Management Journal 53 (4) Pp: 890-913.

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