Knowledge sharing and organisational enabling conditions
Chiri, K. and Klobas, J. (2010) Knowledge sharing and organisational enabling conditions. In: European Conference on Knowledge Management, 2 - 3 September 2010, Famalicao, Portugal
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Whilst a large and important part of knowledge in an organisation is tacit, there is growing evidence to suggest that organisations spend most of their time focusing on codifying and managing explicit knowledge and neglecting tacit knowledge. This paper looks at the organisational enabling conditions that enhance tacit knowledge sharing. It argues that whilst organisations cannot force their employees to share their tacit knowledge without the willingness of the individuals to take part, it is possible, to foster the means that encourage the willingness of employees to share their knowledge with others in the workplace. The paper identifies a number of factors that influence the intentions of employees to share their knowledge within an organisation. Factors such as organisational commitment, rewards and incentives, trust and learning orientation are believed to affect the intention of employees to share their knowledge with others in the workplace. These factors are combined with new variables introduced from a social cognitive perspective of intention to engage in knowledge sharing behaviour. This study uses Ajzen's theory of planned behaviour (TPB) to develop and test a research model to assess factors that influence knowledge sharing intentions. Briefly, at the initial level, employees' knowledge sharing behaviour is determined by their intentions. At the next level, the intentions are themselves explained by three conceptually independent antecedents: 1) attitudes towards knowledge sharing, 2) perceived social influence on knowledge sharing, and 3) personal control for knowledge sharing. Understanding factors necessary to enhance knowledge sharing intentions and perhaps knowledge sharing behaviours in the workplace represent significant progress towards leveraging the vast collective knowledge that exists within an organisation. This paper provides evidence of the importance of perceived social influence and personal control and gives reasons why employees may or may not be willing to engage in knowledge sharing activities even when their attitude to knowledge sharing is positive. The paper suggests that, sharing knowledge is governed by the strength of perceived social influence and supported by personal control in the form of adequate skills and capability rather than from having positive attitudes toward knowledge sharing. It also shows that employees who feel the organisation continues to reward them, who are confident in their ability to share, who can trust their work colleagues and management, and who have high aspirations for acquiring and developing new skills, are more willing to engage in knowledge sharing activities.
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