How can organizational culture influence knowledge sharing behaviour?

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Introduction

Organizational cultures have different ways of sharing knowledge within their employees. Many factors in organizations may either discourage or promote knowledge sharing. While organizational culture defines the values as well as beliefs that an organization considers to be very important, Knowledge sharing refers to a process in which people exchange their ideas and knowledge to create new ideas or knowledge through discussions. Such organizational values and beliefs influence the behavior of workforce along with the foreseen value of their work. This in turn influences the knowledge sharing behaviors and attitudes of personnel in the organization. The study will outline the dominant dimensions of organizational factors like management’s perceptions of knowledge sharing support, perceptions on a social interaction culture, and the existence of technology in facilitating knowledge sharing.

Top management leaders regularly adjust their management behaviors in order to realize the objectives of the business or team, and this manages the behaviors of workers. As a result, it is essential to recognize the relationship between knowledge sharing, organizational culture, and leadership behavior. It has been debated that the employees that are willing to share their knowledge accomplish their work efficiently. In current economy, knowledge sharing is very essential in organizations and knowledge management has become critical. Knowledge management simplifies and improves the process of creating, distributing, sharing and understanding the knowledge of a company. Knowledge has become a highly valued asset that has to be developed, shared and managed well between departments and individual people in the organization. Organizations that have a culture with a positive social interaction, both top management along with workforce frequently interact and socialize with one another with little worry about their ranks and status in the company. According to Bock, Zmud, Kim & Lee 2005: p.57) it is suggested that the value of social interaction lies within knowledge use. The benefits of an organization with a culture of a positive social interaction as regards to knowledge sharing are varied. They lead to workers that are knowledgeable about the potential of their colleagues that act as sources of knowledge. The other benefit is that such employees completely trust their colleagues and as a result, they willingly agree to share knowledge with them.

Companies have realized the importance of social interaction and they have started to offer complimentary drinks and food to their staff to encourage them to carry on interacting more often. Use of tea and popcorn not only compliments and increases the confidence of employees but also increase personal contact in an informal environment where workers assist and ask one another questions. Individuals that collaborate and talk to one another, the focus of their conversation always goes back to their work. It should be noted that non-work related conversations are not a mere wastage of time. Non work related discussions serve to enhance trust in their organizations.

It is documented that sometimes back, knowledge sharing at HP Company was basically serendipitous and informal. It was based at accidental encounters or on personal networks at the meetings. Alavi, Kayworth & Leidner (2005: p.45) coincides that personal and informal communication is essential in organizations. They state that main features of knowledge are not sequential. Majority of knowledge is generated and distributed among employees when they are having coffee with their colleagues in a tea room. After making this observation, a good number of organizations in Japan have established talk rooms where personnel is allowed to talk to their colleagues about their individual work on weekly basis. Those types of impromptu encounters reinforce management’s perceptions of supporting knowledge sharing and also minimize communication barriers and status differentials. Even though reducing status distinctions among staff is likely to encourage social interaction and increase knowledge sharing, a decline in knowledge sharing is likely to reinforce status distinctions in organizations. Top management might strict access to certain organizational information to only a few managers. This would imply that workforce that has lower status will be prevented from contributing significant new ideas to the organization. In organization culture where there is existence of information differentials, organizational members will not be given equal opportunities to interact well. This will hinder the quest for various interpretations of new ideas and knowledge (Hsiu-Fen 2007: p, 79).

Affinity groups that are created along these values, they have a big role in supporting knowledge sharing in organizations. Affinity groups believe that every member of the group has the same job title or rank in the company. This gives confide.............


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