Conveying Knowledge Using Visualization vs. Text: Empirical Evidence from Asia and Europe

Bresciani S., Eppler M., Tan M., Chang K. (2010). Conveying Knowledge Using Visualization vs. Text: Empirical Evidence from Asia and Europe. Proceedings of I-KNOW 2010, JUCS, Graz, Austria, 1-3 September 2010.

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Abstract: In this study we look at an innovative approach to knowledge management, namely the use of graphical representations for conveying a specific type of knowledge. We focus on business strategy and investigate how this type of knowledge can best be communicated by comparing textual and visual representations. Through a controlled experiment we examine the effect of knowledge representation on understanding and recall of participants in Europe and East Asia. The results show that knowledge visualization is superior to text, independent of culture, and that culture does not have a negative mediating role on the reception of knowledge. However, we also find that subjects underestimate the benefits of visual representations of information for building up knowledge in both cultures. We believe that these findings reveal the hidden benefits of visualization for knowledge work. Communicating knowledge with visual formats or representations thus seems a promising, but undervalued practice for international, intercultural contexts.

Keywords: Knowledge communication, Visual representation, Cross-cultural communication, Strategic knowledge visualization, Recall.

Categories: M.0, M.9, H.m



Sabrina Bresciani: University of Lugano (USI), Switzerland

Martin J. Eppler: University of St. Gallen (HSG), Switzerland

Margaret Tan: Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore


Klarissa Chang: National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore

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