Knowledge sharing in a non-native language context: Challenges and strategies

Farhan Ahmad*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    23 Citations (Scopus)


    Knowledge sharing is a language-based activity. With the rise of multilingual workforces and the adoption of common corporate languages, such as English, knowledge sharing is happening in non-native language contexts more than ever before. This article explores the challenges and strategies of knowledge sharing in a non-native language at the individual level. For this purpose, an exploratory case study was conducted in a multinational organisation. Results show that the use of a non-native language can make knowledge sharing an ambiguous and costly process, eroding some of the benefits of knowledge sharing. It was found that employees adopt three different strategies to deal with problems in the knowledge-sharing process caused using a non-native language. These strategies – namely, discourse adjustment, language adjustment and media adjustment – play an important role in the successful exchange of knowledge between linguistically diverse individuals.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)248-264
    Number of pages17
    JournalJournal of Information Science
    Issue number2
    Early online date6 Jan 2017
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


    • Knowledge management
    • knowledge sharing
    • language diversity
    • multilingual workplaces
    • multinational organisations

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Information Systems
    • Library and Information Sciences


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