Theoretical background pertaining to knowledge sharing

Theoretical background pertaining to knowledge sharing(KS)

Drawing on previous research, knowledge sharing as the most significant component in knowledge management process, is defined as the interpersonal interactions involving the exchange and mutual absorption of knowledge among individuals and groups (Bartol and Srivastava, 2002; Pittino, et al., 2018). The importance of knowledge sharing manifests in integrating existing knowledge in teams and organisations, as an attempt to improve organisations and teams’ innovation, creativity, problem-solving ability, and performance (Cappelli and Keller, 2014; Quinn, Anderson, and Finkelstein, 1996). In this sense, it is crucial to investigate the underlying mechanism for teams’ knowledge sharing behaviours. Drawing wide range of studies, this research argues that the effectiveness and efficiency of knowledge sharing are intimately affected via factors lying in individual, team-level and knowledge-based perspectives (see figure 1).

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With respect to individual perspective, there are tremendous researchers and practitioners suggest that psychological factors, such as, trusts and attitudes significantly affect KS behavioural intention and behaviours (Wu, 2013; Bock et al., 2005). Indeed, individual behaviours are determined via behavioural intentions. Consistent with this perspective, Armitage and Conner (1999) suggest that intention can be perspective as the motivation required to stimulate a given behaviour. In this sense, team knowledge sharing behaviours highly hinge on the individual behavioural intentions towards knowledge sharing. According to Wu’s (2013) research, it argues that individual psychological factors, such as, trusts and positive attitude towards KS are positively correlates to KS in teams.

With reference to team-level factors, previous studies suggest that a conducive team context is particular important to team KS behaviours. Consistent with this perspective, Wu, Hsu, and Yeh’s (2007) research confirms that organisational environment possesses significant affects to individual KS behaviours. In this sense, team environment similarly is associated with team KS behaviours. For instance, social interaction factors, for instance, the frequency of communication, intimate team member relationship, and so forth are positively related to KS behaviours. Analytically, it can be explained by Brewer’s (1979) research in which it suggests that the phenomenon of ‘in-group favouritism’ intensifies team members’ frequency of communication. Together, the relationship between team-level factors and KS behaviours could be identified.

Regarding knowledge-based perspective, the ontology of knowledge studies suggest that knowledge can be classified into tacit knowledge and explicit knowledge (Mullan et al., 2013; Sergeeva and Andreeva, 2016). In detail, tacit knowledge, such as, personal skills, experiences, and so forth is difficult to transfer, whereas explicit knowledge, such as, knowledge that can be readily articulated, codified, accessed and verbalised is rather easy to transfer (Mullan et al., 2013; Sergeeva and Andreeva, 2016; Hislop, 2013). According to Hislop’s (2013) conduit model of KS, knowledge is shared by the transferral of explicit and codified knowledge from sender to receiver (see figure 2). In this sense, KS intimately correlates to the forms of knowledge. Hence, knowledge-based factors could affect the team KS behaviours.