"Smart" diplomacy? Knowledge management in planned turnover environments
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- Master of Science 
Modern communication has ended much of traditional diplomacy. As national leaders and analysts can connect directly with other foreign nations from inside their own boundaries, embassies and consulates have taken on a new primary task – export promotion and development of the home nation’s business interests abroad. This leads to the question: if embassies are taking on business roles, are they also being run like a business? Billions of tax dollars are spent on diplomatic programs each year, and citizens deserve effective steering of that money. Those in charge of these staggering budgets are often diplomats who are rotated to different work posts throughout the global embassy system every few years. With only two or three years per rotation, these diplomats receive extensive training and are expected to hit the ground running in their new rotation. Local knowledge, however, is vital to understanding how both business promotion and traditional diplomatic and consular work should be accomplished within the new cultural environment. With that in mind, this thesis will explore how embassies are managing the knowledge that comes in and out of their doors. Do these new diplomats have the benefit to learn from their predecessors? What systems are in place to avoid costly relearning of local knowledge once a skilled diplomat moves to his or her next post? Knowledge can be seen as both tacit and explicit, and both are vital to an organization’s success. To get a full picture of the knowledge management processes within foreign missions, this thesis will explore both.
Masteroppgave(MSc) in Master of Science in Business, Strategy - Handelshøyskolen BI, 2017