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The multicultural environment influence on innovation and knowledge management in the Slovak Republic.

1. INTRODUCTION

The innovation ability is the key towards overcoming the economic crisis and it .puts the basis for evident and sustainable growth. The authors of the article are identified with the fact that: "Knowledge lies at the very heart of innovation. A company's ability to create, store and transfer knowledge the innovation process itself may well determine success in bringing new products about technologies, customer needs and or services to the market". (Inganas, M., Hacklin, F., Pluss, A., Marxt, C., 2006)

One of the findings in the ninth edition of the European Innovation Scoreboard (European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS), 2009) shows that firms with innovation strategies that nvolve users and those that use knowledge management systems, are less likely to expect to reduce their innovation expenditures.

The report also points out that the extent to which a country's businesses, institutions and industries are linked with resources and capabilities located outside the country, it is likely to positively impact on the innovation performance of that country. Conversely, innovation-intensive firms and countries are more likely to be able to compete successfully in international locations.

Capability of the firm to innovate, according to the Oslo Manual, also depends on the characteristics of the firm: the structure of its labour force and facilities (skills, departments), its financial structure, strategy on markets, competitors, alliances with other firms or with universities, and above all its internal organisation. Many of these aspects are complementary A particular skill structure will go hand in hand with a particular type of strategy, financial structure and so on.

2. INNOVATIONS IN THE SLOVAK REPUBLIC

From the overview of industrial enterprise innovation activities in the Slovak Republic highlighted in the Fig. 1 it is evident that in the monitored period, (2001-2006), the ratio of industrial enterprises having innovation activities slightly increases and on the other hand the ratio of the industrial enterprises without innovation activities slightly decreases.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

According to the EU Innovation Scoreboard 2009, p. 12 Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain are the Moderate innovators with innovation performance below the EU27.

On the other hand according to the Innobarometer 2009 the Slovak Republic is between the countries where enterprises have reported a negative turnaround in innovation investment growth rate: Lithuania (27%), Slovak Republic (21%), Romania, Sweden and the Czech Republic (all 17%).

We again can see increase as well as for the expenses as for the number of employees.

The ratio between number of PhD. students and number of Prof. and Assoc. Prof. shows relatively stable number of Prof. and Assoc. Prof. and increase of number of PhD. students. In practice it means that there are more students on Prof. and Assoc. Prof..

Other aspect of the effective innovation is the implementation of the knowledge management systems. According to the Innobarometer 2009 (Innobarometer 2009, p. 38).

[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 3 OMITTED]

Knowledge management systems were most often deployed among enterprises active in innovation-intensive sectors where the Slovak Republic is above the average of EU27 with 58% using such systems to integrate different company activities to support innovation.

3. INNOVATIONS AND MULTICULTURE

The authors associate themselves with the view presented in the Oslo Manual (Oslo Manual, p. 21) that innovation is influenced by the number of human, social and cultural factors which are crucial to the effective operation of innovation at the firm level. These factors are mostly based around learning. They relate to the ease of communication within organisations, informal interactions, cooperation and channels of information and skills transmission between and within organisations, and social and cultural factors which have a pervasive influence on how effectively these activities and channels can operate. International links are a key component of the networks through which information is channelled -networks ("invisible colleges") of international experts are a key means of transmitting up-to-date scientific understanding and leading-edge technological developments. Ethics, community value-systems, trust and openness that influence the extent to which networks, linkages and other channels of communication can be effective, by affecting the informal dealings between individuals which underpin many business arrangements, and setting the parameters and accepted rules of behaviour within which communication and exchanges of information occur. All those aspects are clearly linked with the intercultural competencies.

According to Gerard (Gerard, 2002) innovation will take a great significance and require a new kind of professional employee. The new skill sets include system and knowledge integration as well as the ability to manage complexity and uncertainty and to work in a multicultural environment--all of these skills are the essence of innovation.

The major competencies in general level are drawn as follows (Multicultural Finland Association):

1. Adaptation skills

2. An attitude of modesty and respect

3. An understanding of the concept of culture

4. Knowledge of the Host country and culture

5. Self-knowledge

6. Intercultural Communication

7. Organizational Skills

8. Personal and professional commitment.

Increased diversity presents challenges to business leaders who must maximize the opportunities that it presents while minimizing its costs. The multicultural organization is characterized by pluralism, full integration of minority-culture members both formally and informally, an absence of prejudice and discrimination, and low levels of inter-group conflict. The organization that achieves these conditions will create an environment in which all members can contribute to their maximum potential, and in which the 'value in diversity ' can be fully realized. (Multicultural Work Force)

Overcoming the obstacles in knowledge management because of the intolerance, "not invented here" syndrome, lack of trust, ineffective communication, knowledge hiding and holding etc. takes us back to the roots of Knowledge Management as a social and human discipline. Collaboration requires more than the ability to publish, display or aggregate information but rather requires the ability to leverage the know-how of many individuals.

4. CONCLUSION

In the period of crisis, there must be stronger focus put on research and innovation investments to overcome the challenges of globalization. So, one of the priorities of nowadays should be to improve innovation performance of enterprises. However, EU supports the EU research efficiency by stimulating innovation and developing high markets what helps to navigate the countries to the right journey.

Several researchers and scientific works describe the direct linkage between the maturity of knowledge management and innovation processes. Today there is no doubt that knowledge intensive processes are also innovation intensive ones. We also very well know that creative organizational culture oriented on learning and sustainable improvement are the non plus ultra conditions for the effective and efficient knowledge management. We can create golden triangle between knowledge management, innovations and culture to identify if the organization is able of flexible reaction on the customer request and to be sustainably competitive at the global market.

Innovation processes and human interactions are influenced by the technologies especially with the information and communication technologies. Today it is not rare to build up the international project teams to put the products on the global market. We have to deal with new forms of communication and interactions.

For the future innovation and knowledge management research, the professionals should put the emphasis not only on culture problems but also on multicultural ones.

This article is part of a research project VEGA no. 1/0491/09 "Project management processes maturity control as a tool for the improvement of the mechanical engineering enterprises competitiveness".

5. REFERENCES

European Innovation Scoreboard 2009 Comparative Analysis of Innovation Performance, http://www.proinnoeurope.eu/page/european-innovation-scoreboard-2009

Gerard H. G.: Innovation by design: what it takes to keep your company on the cutting edge. AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn, ISBN 0814406963, pp. 192, (2002)

Inganas, M. et al: Knowledge management with focus on the innovation process in collaborative networking companies. In: International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisations, vol. 3, No. 3, pp. 283-298. (2006)

Innobarometer 2009 Analytical Report, http://www.proinnoeurope.eu/page/innobarometer

Multicultural Finland Association, http://www.helsinkisummerschool.fi/media/userfiles/filehss2008/ Developing%20Intercultural%20/Competence/DIC

MulticulturalWorkForcehttp://www.referenceforbusiness.com/small/ Mail-Op/Multicultural-Work-Force.html

Oslo Manual: Guidelines for Collecting and Interpreting Innovation Data, 3rd Edition, http://www.oecd.org
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Author:Caganova, Dagmar; Sujanova, Jana; Lenhardtova, Zuzana
Publication:Annals of DAAAM & Proceedings
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:4EXSV
Date:Jan 1, 2010
Words:1337
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