Improving SMEs - A study on knowledge transfer between Norway and Poland
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This paper is connected to a project called "Polish Norwegian cooperation for environmental friendly and innovative solutions in SMEs" (POLNORECO). Energy efficiency and sustainable resources management are success factors of competitive industries in Europe. Poland is still facing challenges in that aspect and Polish SMEs do require of the system approach allowing to introduce good practice and solutions implementing sustainable energy management in the companies. Apart from political targets set up by European Union, energy efficiency is a vivid and important topic for many of small medium size businesses all over Poland. Based on this research project, this will look at transfer of knowledge and technology between Norway and Poland. Goals of the project that this paper is based on are: (1) to strengthen Norwegian-Polish cooperation and the exchange of knowhow and technologies (2) to increase the energy efficiency of SME and more effective management of recourses (3) to develop sustainable solutions in energy efficiency for participating SME (4) to share the bilateral knowledge and experience in organization of companies support (5) to share and promote best practices in energy efficiency both in Poland and in Norway. Knowledge transfer between two countries have both opportunities and challenges. Since knowledge is shared/ transferred between two (national and organizational) contexts, the knowledge has to be transformed first. That is, the knowledge has to be de-contextualized from its source and then recontextualized to fit suitably to the transferred context. This paper addresses the cultural challenges of the knowledge transferring process between the two countries. There can be several cultural factors that can affect the knowledge transferring process. These factors can be seen from various perspectives. This paper considers systems thinking as an underlying theory to address the theme of this paper along with the description of explicit and tacit knowledge. This paper describes differences in individuals' understanding of the reality due to their own cultural contexts, and discusses some underlying mechanisms that lead individuals to understand their reality differently. Understanding of these mechanisms can serve as a guiding framework for the project to devise actions and strategies to improve the knowledge transferring process. Case studies will be applied as a research method.