To share or not to share: an examination of the determinants of sharing knowledge via knowledge management systems

by Sheng Wang

Institution: The Ohio State University
Department: Labor and Human Resources
Degree: PhD
Year: 2005
Keywords: Business Administration, Management; knowledge sharing; accountability; personality
Record ID: 1765009
Full text PDF: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=osu1117177005


Knowledge management has been recognized as one way for organizations to gain a competitive advantage. Despite being one major technique to facilitate knowledge management, technological knowledge management systems (KMSs) often fail because their implementation does not consider when people choose to share knowledge. The present research draws upon accountability theory, social exchange theory, and the Five Factor Model of Personality to examine how two contextual factors (i.e., evaluation and evaluation-plus-reward), perceived benefits, and personality characteristics are related to individuals’ intention to share knowledge and their actual knowledge sharing via a KMS. A lab and a field study using a longitudinal quasi-experimental design were conducted to test the study hypotheses. Three experimental conditions were implemented for each study, including a control condition, an evaluation condition, and an evaluation-plus-reward condition. Surveys were used to measure study participants’ personality characteristics and perceived benefits. Knowledge sharing measures included intentions and actual sharing behaviors. The findings generally provide support for the prediction that accountability mechanisms (i.e., evaluation and evaluation-plus-reward) facilitate knowledge sharing via a KMS. As expected, career-related benefits were also found to have a positive effect on both knowledge sharing intention and actual sharing. Personality characteristics interacted with the conditions. The implications of the study results for research and practice in knowledge sharing and knowledge management are discussed.