Analyzing the Effects of Knowledge Sharing on Innovation and KMS Success: A Case Study of The International Cooperation and Development Fund

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(1)Analyzing the Effects of Knowledge Sharing on Innovation and KMS Success: A Case Study of the International Cooperation and Development Fund. By. Nadeige Bernard. A Thesis Submitted to the Graduate Faculty in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of. MASTER OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION. Major: International Human Resource Development. Advisor: Cheng-Ping Shih, Ph.D. National Taiwan Normal University Taipei, Taiwan June, 2012.

(2) Analyzing the Effects of Knowledge Sharing on Innovation and KMS Success: A Case Study of the International Cooperation and Development Fund By Nadeige Bernard A Thesis Submitted to the Graduate Faculty in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of MASTER OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION Approved:. ___________________________ Dr. Cheng-Ping Shih, Thesis Advisor. ___________________________ Dr. Wei-Wen Chang, Committee Member. ___________________________ Dr. Pai-Po Lee, Committee Member. ____________________________ Dr. Chih-Chien Lai Director of the Graduate Program. Graduate Institute of International Human Resource Development National Taiwan Normal University Taipei, Taiwan June, 2012.

(3) ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I want to thank God for giving me the health, strength, perseverance, and determination to complete this research and for blessing me with the support of exceptional individuals. I want to thank my mother and all my siblings…my entire family and friends for their unfaltering love, support, and unwavering faith in me. Thank you for being my rock and for putting a smile in my heart. I’m also deeply indebted to Dr. Steven Lai and to the entire staff and faculty members of the Graduate Institute of International Human Resource Development for their outstanding dedication, kindness, patience, and significant contribution to my learning. During these past years, the support that I have received from each one of you has been so overwhelming, thank you so much. I’m very grateful to my thesis advisor and my committee members for their time, guidance and invaluable comments. Your feedback has been a source of inspiration and has helped me develop a new and a more comprehensible study framework, and improve my research in its entirety. I also want to express my heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Pai-Po Lee for kindly granting me the permission to conduct my research in his organization and to Ms. Tsai Ching-Wen for showing indefatigable patience in helping me with the survey distribution and collection. Without your support, my study would not have come to fruition. I want to extend my sincere gratitude to all of you that have given me your support and made my years of study in Taiwan a rewarding learning experience; your name will be forever written in my heart..

(4) ABSTRACT Knowledge is considered as a key organization resource and as a result its preservation has become one of the primary interests of organizations. Additionally, not only should organizations be preserving knowledge but they should also find ways to facilitate its distribution and accessibility for all organizational members by encouraging knowledge sharing. Sharing knowledge is not only important in enhancing organization innovation but is also recognized as a crucial key success factor for organization knowledge management system (KMS). As both KMS and innovation are essential to ensure organization sustainability, knowledge sharing is a must. However, knowledge sharing cannot be taken as given, organization contexts shape individuals’ knowledge sharing behavior. Therefore understanding the impact of organization contexts on knowledge sharing is essential in ensuring KMS and innovation success. This research aims to measure the effect of knowledge sharing on KMS and innovation by surveying 90 full time employees working at a Taiwanese nonprofit organization known as The International Cooperation and Development Fund (Taiwan ICDF). Partial least square and hierarchical regression analyses are used to study the direct effect and the mediating effect of knowledge sharing on KMS and innovation. This study makes several contributions to the literature on knowledge sharing, KMS, and innovation both in theory and practice. From a theoretical perspective, this research extends and enriches our understanding of knowledge sharing in a nonprofit organization context. From a practical perspective, the results of this study help practitioners better understand the importance of organization contexts in shaping individuals’ knowledge sharing behavior and subsequently the impact of knowledge sharing on the organization’s KMS and innovation. In general, the results show that organization contexts have a positive and significant effect on knowledge sharing, KMS and innovation. In addition, the findings indicate that knowledge sharing has positive effect on KMS and innovation and that knowledge sharing has a mediating effect on the relationship between organization contexts and KMS and on the relationships between organization contexts and innovation.. Keywords: Nonprofit organizations, organization context, knowledge sharing, innovation, KMS. I.

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(6) TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract ....................................................................................................................................I Table of Contents .....................................................................................................................III List of Tables ...........................................................................................................................V List of Figures ..........................................................................................................................VII CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION .............................................................................................1 Background of the Study .................................................................................................1 Purposes of the Study.......................................................................................................4 Questions of the Study .....................................................................................................4 Significance of the Study .................................................................................................5 Definition of Terms..........................................................................................................7 CHAPTER II. LITERATURE REVIEW ................................................................................9 Taiwan’s Nonprofit Sector-Background and Challenges ................................................9 Knowledge Sharing in Nonprofit Organizations .............................................................12 Literature on Knowledge sharing.....................................................................................15 Literature on Knowledge Types- Tacit and Explicit knowledge .....................................18 Literature on Organization Contexts ...............................................................................21 Organization Contexts and Knowledge Sharing ..............................................................23 Organization Contexts, Knowledge Sharing and KMS ...................................................30 Organization Contexts, Knowledge Sharing and Innovation ..........................................40 CHAPTER III. METHODOLOGY .........................................................................................49 Research Framework .......................................................................................................50 Research Hypotheses .......................................................................................................51 Research Procedure ..........................................................................................................51 Research Methods ............................................................................................................54 Research Instrument Description .....................................................................................54 Data Collection ................................................................................................................58 Nonprofit Organization Selected for Study-Taiwan ICDF Background .........................59 Population and Sample ....................................................................................................60 Data Analysis Methods ....................................................................................................62 III.

(7) CHAPTER IV. FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION ...................................................................67 Sample Characteristics ....................................................................................................67 Reliability and Validity Analysis ...................................................................................69 Descriptive Statistics Analysis .......................................................................................76 Discussion for Descriptive Statistics Analysis ..............................................................83 Correlation Analysis ......................................................................................................87 Hierarchical Regression Analysis .................................................................................89 Partial Least Square Analysis ........................................................................................104 Discussion for Hierarchical Regression Analysis ..........................................................114 Discussion for Partial Least Square Analysis ................................................................117 CHAPTER V. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ..........................................123 Conclusions ...................................................................................................................123 Recommendations for Taiwan ICDF .............................................................................125 Limitations and Recommendations for Future Research ...............................................129 References ................................................................................................................................133 Appendix A: Cover Letter for Questionnaire ......................................................................... 153 Appendix B: Knowledge Management Questionnaire ........................................................... 154 Appendix C: PLS Results ....................................................................................................... 158. IV.

(8) LIST OF TABLES Table 2.1 Knowledge Sharing Definitions Based on Knowledge Types.................................17 Table 3.1 Guidelines for Factor Loading Cutoff Points ..........................................................57 Table 3.2 Research Instrument Content Validity.....................................................................58 Table 4.1 Participants’ Demographic Background Information ..............................................68 Table 4.2 Constructs’ Reliability Analysis for this Study .......................................................72 Table 4.3 Constructs’ Validity Analysis for this Study ...........................................................74 Table 4.4 Descriptive Statistics for Information Technology..................................................76 Table 4.5 Descriptive Statistics for Top Management Support ...............................................77 Table 4.6 Descriptive Statistics for Collaborative Culture ......................................................78 Table 4.7 Descriptive Statistics for Organization Structure ....................................................78 Table 4.8 Descriptive Statistics for Tacit Knowledge Sharing ................................................79 Table 4.9 Descriptive Statistics for Explicit Knowledge Sharing ...........................................80 Table 4.10 Descriptive Statics for Innovation ..........................................................................81 Table 4.11 Descriptive Statistics for KMS ...............................................................................82 Table 4.12 Correlation among Constructs ................................................................................88 Table 4.13 Regression Analysis for Organization Contexts’ Effect on KMS ..........................90 Table 4.14 Regression Analysis for Organization Contexts’ Effect on Innovation ................92 Table 4.15 Regression Analysis for Organization Contexts’ Effect on Knowledge Sharing 94 Table 4.16 Regression Analysis for Knowledge sharing Effect on KMS ................................96 Table 4.17 Regression Analysis for Knowledge Sharing Effect on Innovation .......................98 Table 4.18 Regression Analysis for Knowledge Sharing Mediation Effect on KMS ..............100 Table 4.19 Regression Analysis for Knowledge Sharing Mediation Effect on Innovation......102 Table 4.20 PLS Measurement Model Reliability Analysis .....................................................105 Table 4.21 PLS Measurement Model Validity Analysis .........................................................106 Table 4.22 PLS Correlation Matrix and Discriminant Validity Analysis ................................106 Table 4.23 PLS Hypotheses Results ........................................................................................111 Table 4.24 Effects of Organization Contexts on KMS and Innovation ...................................111 Table 4.25 Final Results for Research Hypotheses ..................................................................113. V.

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(10) LIST OF FIGURES Figure 2.1 The postal Model of Knowledge Sharing ................................................................17 Figure 2.2 The Structural Model of Knowledge Sharing .........................................................23 Figure 2.3 The Model of Knowledge- Sharing Dynamics in KMS ..........................................33 Figure 2.4 The Technical Perspective of a KMS ......................................................................35 Figure 2.5 The Link Between KM and Innovation ...................................................................42 Figure 3.1 Conceptual Framework ...........................................................................................50 Figure 3.2 Research Process .....................................................................................................53 Figure 3.3 Taiwan ICDF Organization Chart ...........................................................................61 Figure 4.1 Structural Model’s Empirical Results .....................................................................112 Figure 5.1 Proposed Conceptual Framework............................................................................132. VII.

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(12) CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION This chapter gives an insight of the study background, the purposes, the questions that frame the investigation for the study and the research significance. The definitions of key terms are included in order to provide a comprehensive focus of this entire research.. Background of the Study Globalization and technological advances have changed the dynamic business context in which organizations operate. To survive and thrive, organizations need to respond to the new changes and challenges of the external environment in order to generate the best outcomes from the resources they have at their disposal (Debowski, 2006). Knowledge, a unique and an inimitable resource, is considered as the most strategically important asset which organizations possess. If properly managed, knowledge allows organizations to achieve sustainable competitive advantage, increase effectiveness, foster innovation and creativity, and reduce risk and cost. Consequently the awareness of the importance of knowledge as an exceptional resource has compelled many organizations to effectively manage and use knowledge throughout the organization. In an industry survey conducted by KMPG (2000), 81 percent of leading organizations in Europe and the United States have indicated several reasons for managing knowledge that include gaining competitive advantage (79 percent), increasing marketing effectiveness (75 percent), developing customer focus (72 percent), or improving product innovation (64 percent), achieving revenue and profit growth (63 percent) and promoting employee development (53 percent). In contrast, another KMPG (2003) survey indicated that 78 percent of organizations believed that failure to harness knowledge may result in loss of business opportunities. According to this survey, it is also estimated that an average of 6 percent revenue as a percentage of total turnover or budget yearly is being missed from failing to exploit knowledge effectively (p.8). Organizations such as Xerox, IBM, Microsoft, and Shell have achieved sustainable competitive advantage as a result of pursuing KM. KM has become critical for the corporate sector, the government/ public and nonprofit sector (Anantatmula & Kanungo, 2007; Lettieri, Borga, & Salvodelli, 2004; Syed Ihksan & 1.

(13) Rohland, 2004). Nonprofit organizations such as Rockefeller Foundation, Wallace Foundation, Tzu-Chi Foundation and Taiwan ICDF are also increasingly relying on KM to improve customer service and increase their performance, efficiency and competitive advantage. As the increasingly complex external environment has also changed the landscape for nonprofit organizations’ operations and has risen up their management and performance challenges to new heights; nonprofit organizations have seen themselves obligated to adopt similar for- profit organizations’ strategies in order to cope with the new challenges. Nonprofit organizations have to play various roles and deal with multiple objectives. Similar to for-profit companies, nonprofit organizations faces extensive social responsibility (Hull & Lio, 2006). Moreover, these organizations also have to meet never ending expectations and demands for more effective and efficient programs and services from multiple stakeholders which include citizens, government, donors, employees and special interest groups. Not only are they expected to create value for the society (Lettieri et al., 2004) but they are also expected to succeed in areas where government and private organizations fail (Kuan, Kao, & Pelchat, 2003; McHargue, 2003). Unless nonprofits organizations effectively manage knowledge to fulfill performance expectations, their reason for existence will be threatened. KM main purpose is to support organizations’ effort in managing tacit and explicit knowledge to create value. KM lasting advantage comes from developing and using KMS to facilitate the accessibility and availability of knowledge throughout the organization. KMS enables organizations to capture, organize, reuse and transfer experience-based knowledge that resides within the organization and make that knowledge available to organizational members (Lin, 2007) and as such it reinforces organizations’ ability to learn from previous success and failure experiences to increase productivity and boost performance (Lettieri et al., 2004; Kuo & Lee, 2009). KMS helps to create a sustainable organization as it generates increasing returns and continuing advantages (Chandran & Raman, 2009). The benefits of an effective KMS for organizations include for example, cost reduction of activities, increased sales, personnel reduction, higher profitability, lower inventory levels, better service, targeted and proactive marketing (Alavi & Leidner, 1999) and harmonized standards and improvements in the decisionmaking process (Hansen, Mors, & Lovas, 2005).. 2.

(14) In addition, KM is also increasingly perceived to contribute to organization innovation. Similar to KMS, innovation drives organization performance. It is considered to be a mean to achieve competitive advantage (e.g. du Plessis, 2007b, Nacinovic, Galetic, & Cavlek, 2009; Rhodes et al., 2008) and organization performance (e.g. Khalifa, Yu, & Shen, 2008; Rhodes et al., 2008; Subramanian & Nilakanta, 1996; Yamin et al., 1999). Innovation is also crucial to organization sustainability. Management expert Peter Drucker quoted in Shukla (2005) noted ‘if an established organization which in this age necessitating innovation, is not able to innovate, it faces decline and extinction’. For KMS and innovation to enhance organization sustainability, knowledge sharing is a must. Knowledge sharing as the kernel of KM plays a fundamental role in determining its outcomes and achieving its full value (Abdullah, Hassim, & Chik, 2009; Apostolou, Mentzas, & Abecker, 2008, 2009). In point of fact, organizations’ ability to ensure that knowledge is shared among organizational members is claimed to be essential to the success of KMS (Babcock, 2004; King & Marks, 2008) and innovation (Kim & Lee, 2006; Lin, 2007b). Therefore a lack of knowledge sharing may cause serious problems for organizations. Various factors stemming from organization and interpersonal contexts have been claimed to affect knowledge sharing. Consequently Lin (2007a) and Yang and Chen (2007) suggested that factors influencing knowledge sharing should be the centre of attention of any KM effort. Knowledge resides in individuals and its sharing depends on their willingness to make it available to the entire organization. It is also well-known that individuals’ knowledge sharing behavior can be a reaction to their organization contexts. According to Riege (2005) ‘one of the key issues of sharing knowledge in an organizational context is related to the right organization environment and conditions’. Organization contexts are argued to have either a positive or negative effect on knowledge sharing behavior. Studies conducted by (Kim & Lee, 2006; Pai, 2006; Ruggles, 1998; Wang & Noe, 2009, 2010) have indicated that contextual factors such as information technology, top management support, organization culture and organization structure have an impact on knowledge sharing. Given the importance of knowledge sharing for KMS and innovation, understanding how these contextual factors promote or hinder knowledge sharing and how knowledge sharing. 3.

(15) affects KMS and innovation are essential steps towards determining the factors that ensure an organization’ s KMS and innovation success.. Research Purposes Drawing from the assumptions mentioned above, the purposes of this research are formulated as follows: 1.. Examine the effect of organization contexts on knowledge sharing.. 2.. Analyze the effect of knowledge sharing on innovation and KMS.. 3.. Investigate the mediating effect of knowledge sharing on the relationship between. organization contexts and KMS. 4.. Investigate the mediating effect of knowledge sharing on the relationship between. organization contexts and innovation.. Research Questions Deriving from the research purposes, the research questions are framed as follows: 1.. Do organization contexts have an effect knowledge sharing?. 2.. Does knowledge sharing have an effect on innovation and KMS success?. 3.. Does knowledge sharing have a mediating effect on the relationship between organization contexts and KMS?. 4.. Does knowledge sharing have a mediating effect on the relationship between organization contexts and innovation?. 4.

(16) Research Significance This study makes important contribution to the literature on knowledge sharing, KMS, and innovation in nonprofit organizations both in theory and in practice. While ample research on knowledge sharing has been conducted in private organizations/ corporations (e.g. see Liao, Chang, Cheng, & Kuo, 2004; Ling, Sandhu, & Jain, 2009; Ruggles, 1998), governments and public organizations (e.g. see Kang, Kim, & Chang, 2008; Kim & Lee, 2006; Md Noor & Salim, 2011; Pardo, Cresswell, Thompson, & Zhang, 2006), there is little information and empirical studies on knowledge sharing in nonprofit organizations. Consequently researchers like (Lettieri et al., 2004; Staples & Voung, 2008) have called for additional studies of knowledge sharing in nonprofit organizations. Most studies of knowledge sharing have considered it as a one-dimensional construct, the types of knowledge shared (i.e. tacit and explicit) are rarely taken into account. Ismail, Md Nor, and Marjani (2009) pointed that when addressing knowledge sharing, it is fundamental to distinguish explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge because tacit knowledge is shared in different ways than explicit knowledge. Taking into account knowledge types in knowledge sharing into consideration is particularly important since competitive advantage can be gained as organizations value both their tacit and explicit knowledge and ensure that is shared among its members. Moreover, there is dearth of theoretical and empirical studies of organization contexts influence on tacit and explicit knowledge sharing. Therefore the findings of this study have the potential to assist nonprofit organizations in unlocking economic value from the knowledge (i.e. tacit and explicit) that resides in its people as it attempts to identify the contextual factors that support these types of knowledge sharing behavior. In addition, the management of Taiwan ICDF may also find the results of this study of practical benefits as it intends to broaden the knowledge on the factors that increase employees’ tendencies to engage in knowledge sharing behavior in order to successfully develop effective knowledge sharing strategies. Given that organization success depends mainly on the ability to capitalize on the value of knowledge, various organizations including nonprofit organizations are increasingly developing and implementing KM strategy such as KMS to manage and leverage their knowledge resources 5.

(17) (Kankanhalli, Tan, & Wei, 2005). However, ‘the strategy of utilizing KMS to capture and distribute knowledge requires that individuals contribute their knowledge to the system’ (King & Marks, 2008). Although knowledge sharing has been claimed to be an important key success factor in KMS success, little research with the exception of studies conducted by Akhavan, Jafari, Fathian (2006) and Pai (2006) have provided evidence of knowledge sharing impact on KMS success. Studies conducted to date have been mainly theoretical. This study extends on the KMS literature as it provides empirical support for the type of desired knowledge sharing behavior that is essential to the system’s success. In addition, there is a lack of theoretical model and empirical examinations on KMS success factors (Alavi & Leidner, 2001; Kulkarni, Ravidran, & Freeze, 2006/ 2007) particularly in the nonprofit sector (Lettieri et al., 2004). Lettieri et al. (2004) noted that although KM facilitates nonprofit organizations’ excellence, empirical studies about design and implementation of KMSs remain scarce. This study formulates and empirically tests a theoretical model to explain organization contexts and knowledge sharing influence and importance for KMS success. Therefore the results of this study may be of interest to organizations that seek to implement KMS and to researchers in the field of KMS. Innovation has become crucial for nonprofit organizations’ survival. Jaskyte and Dressler (2005) advanced that it is vital for these organizations to develop innovative capacities as they allow them to respond to the needs of the internal or external environment, to take advantage of and use external resources for the creation and provision of new services, to have control over their environment and to respond swiftly to changing demographics (p. 24). The increasing importance of innovation for nonprofit organizations has increased the need to identify factors that foster innovation. However, few researches have tried to identify factors that affect these organizations’ innovation capability (Jaskyte & de Riobo, 2004, p.72). Knowledge sharing has been claimed to be essential for innovation and various studies have provided substantial evidence on these relationships, however research with empirical evidence on the type of knowledge sharing that is crucial to innovation success is relatively scarce. Thus an important contribution of this research is represented by the role of tacit and explicit knowledge sharing for organization innovation.. 6.

(18) The study results contribute to raise awareness among nonprofit organization leaders about the importance of a careful management of both types of knowledge (i.e. tacit and explicit). Aside from identifying the type of knowledge sharing that is essential to innovation success; this research contributes also to the innovation literature as it provides empirical evidence on the importance of organization contexts for innovation. Finally, this research also provides conceptual, theoretical and empirical contributions to the extant literature of knowledge sharing due to the fact that it investigates the mediating role of knowledge sharing between organization contexts, KMS and innovation. At last, this thesis provides a theoretically-based and empirically proven model, which showed that innovation and KMS success are affected by organization contexts and knowledge sharing. It also proposes that factors that affect KMS success may also affect innovation.. Definitions of Terms Nonprofit Organizations (NPOs) Nonprofit organizations encompass all organizations that are self-governing and institutionally separate from the government (i.e. non-governmental). In addition, they include organizations whose main aim is to create value for society rather than to derive profit for its stakeholders (Lettieri et al., 2004). Dalziel (2007, p. 199) referring to Salomon’s typology of nonprofit organizations suggested that these organizations can be categorized into: 1) memberserving organizations (e.g. labor unions, trade associations, cooperatives); 2) fund-raising intermediaries (e.g. United Way, private foundations); 3) public-serving organizations (e.g. educational institutions, cultural institutions, health care organizations, social welfare agencies), and 4) religious organizations.. Knowledge Management (KM) KM is commonly described as the process for acquiring, organizing and communicating both tacit and explicit knowledge so that employees may make use of it to be more effective and. 7.

(19) productive in their work (Alavi & Leidner, 1999) and ultimately improve organization performance.. Explicit Knowledge Sharing Explicit knowledge refers to the academic knowledge or “know-what” that is described in formal language, print or electronic media, often based on established work processes, use people-to-documents approach (Smith, 2001). Explicit knowledge has fixed-content, it is documented and public, structured, externalized and conscious and can be easily shared through information technology (Mian, Takale, & Kekale, 2008; Reychav & Weisberg, 2009; Yang & Farn, 2009).. Tacit Knowledge Sharing Tacit knowledge refers to the practical, action-oriented knowledge or “know how” that is based on practice, and acquired by personal experience (Smith, 2001). Tacit knowledge is personal, undocumented, context-sensitive, internalized and can be shared through people to people approach. Tacit knowledge sharing is subject to interaction and takes place when workers share their experience and when knowledge is transmitted between organizational members (Yang & Farn, 2009; Mayfield, 2010).. KMS Success KMS refers to IT-based systems developed to support and enhance the organizational processes of knowledge creation, storage/ retrieval, transfer, and application (Alavi & Leidner, 2001, p. 114). According to (Jennex, Smolnik, & Croasedll, 2008, 2009) KM effectiveness, KM success and KMS success can be used interchangeably. KMS success is defined as making KMS components more effective by improving search, accuracy and the like in order to enhance effective decision-making. Enhancing the effectiveness of the KMS makes the KMS more successful and ensures KM success.. 8.

(20) CHAPTER II. LITERATURE REVIEW The purpose of this chapter is to review the most relevant literature and related empirical evidence of the variables of interests in order to provide a theoretical basis for the conceptual model underlying this study. First, it provides an introduction of the Taiwanese nonprofit sector and its challenges. Second, it addresses the importance of knowledge sharing in nonprofit organizations. Third, it covers the definition for key variables such as knowledge sharing, knowledge types, organization context. Finally, it highlights the relationship among the variables that represent the main focus of this research.. Taiwan’s Nonprofit Sector- Background and Challenges The situation of nonprofit organizations in Taiwan has changed with the lifting of Taiwan’s Martial Law in 1987. The number of nonprofit organizations has steadily increased, and their services have expanded. Taiwan’s nonprofit organizations types are various. According to (Hsiao, 2000) the most popular ones include membership-based associations and endowment-based foundations. Kuan, Duh and Wang (2010) study showed that aside foundations and associations, religious organizations presence in the nonprofit sector is also becoming more noticeable. Philanthropic, social welfare, and charitable foundations are believed to be the most numerous kind of foundations, succeeded by public interest research, education, culture and arts, international culture exchange and so on (Hsiao, 2000). All membership-based associations and endowment-based foundations’ operations and establishment are regulated on the basis the Civil Code, which was originally legislated in 1927. It is mandatory for nonprofit organizations in Taiwan to register as a legal person with the appropriate supervising government agencies and to be submitted to an administrative review and approval procedure. According to Kuan et al. (2010) estimates, the types and number of NPOs registered with the government in Taiwan can be divided into four categories: (1) “Social organizations” registered with the Ministry of the Interior and local governments numbered 34,171 in 2009; (2) “Trust foundations” registered with the responsible central government agencies and local governments numbered 4,000; (3) “Trade organizations” registered with the Ministry of the Interior, Council for Labor Affairs and local governments such as unions, trade 9.

(21) federations, trade unions, farmer's associations and fisherman's associations numbered 10,286; (4) Faith-based organizations such as "Temples and Churches" registered with the Ministry of the Interior and local governments numbered 15,118. The sum of all four categories is 63,575. Based on these categories and statistics, the various organizations of the Third Sector in Taiwan including foundations, social organizations, unions, trade federations, trade unions, temples and churches number more than 60,000. Taiwan nonprofit organizations cater their services to different groups of clients and as such they can also be classified as primarily member-serving organizations and primarily publicserving organizations. With regards to clients’ characteristics for services or programs, Kuan et al. (2010) study showed that 42.5 percent of Taiwanese NPOs indicated that they serve the general public whereas 39.5 percent of NPOs indicated that their organization serves both members and non-members. Combining the two meant that 81 percent of NPOs provided services to the general public. Even when distinguishing between members and non-members, they still provided services to both. Just 18 percent of NPOs indicated that their organization only serves members. However, a comparison of associations and foundations showed that a significantly higher proportion of the former (24.6 percent) indicated that "our organization only serves members" compared to the latter (5 percent). Taiwan’s nonprofit organizations face significant challenges. Based on reports from (Hsiao, 2000; Kuan, Kao & Pelchat, 2003; Liu & Fang, 2002, 2010), challenges arise in the form of accountability, increased social responsibility and demands in services, growing competition, shortage of resources, turnover, and knowledge management. Becoming the main part of society with the government and enterprises, nonprofit organizations have been called on to meet social needs that were not efficiently tackled by the government and the business sectors (Hsiao, 2000). Nonprofit organizations’ involvement can be found within various areas, such as identifying and mobilizing to meet the new and emerging needs, producing goods, providing social service, and devising policy recommendations as well as doing advocacy activities for policy making. Based on a comparison of foundations and associations, Kuan et al. (2010) showed that more than half of the former category (57.3 percent) believed that there has been a significant change in the demand for services or programs provided by Taiwanese NPOs in the past three years. Less than half of the latter agreed with this view (48.2 percent). The foundations that were 10.

(22) interviewed also emphasized that the demand increased by around 10 ~ 25 percent (35.9 percent) or increased significantly by more than 25 percent (6.8 percent), giving a total of 42.7 percent. Among associations, the combined tally was just 31.7 percent. This showed that in Taiwan, foundation-type NPOs have experienced a greater demand for the services or programs they provide from society over the last 3 years compared to association-type NPOs. Based on a summary provided by (Vacek, 2001), about 70 percent of foundations in Taiwan are private, supported by individuals and the general public, 25 percent are corporate foundations, and the remainder are government-linked foundations. Moreover, the author noted that 85 percent have an endowment of less than NT $ 10 million and 49 percent have an endowment of below NT $ 5 million. Although the nonprofit sector in Taiwan has gained renowned reputation along the years, most organizations have to struggle to attract funding for their activities due to economic downturn and are forced to carry out their mission with fewer resources. For example, Kuan, Kao and Pelchat (2003) noted that some of the big governmentendowment or corporate foundations that mostly depended on the interest generated by their endowments and did little fundraising with the general public have seen their incomes shrink due to low interest rates. Likewise foundations that could not rely mainly on their small endowment and always turned to other sources of funding now have to compete for fewer resources, since governments’ subsidies, corporate sponsorships and individuals’ donations have decreased (p.9). Aside from having to cope with fundraising, service provisions problems, staffing has become one of the many great challenges that nonprofit organizations have to deal with. The majority of workers in Taiwan nonprofit organizations are mostly female, are in the 21- 30 demographic, have a length of service of 1-5 years and hold a college/university degree (Fang & Liu, 2002, Liu & Fang, 2010). These authors explained that the predominance of female workers in such sector is due do the fact that women have more empathy to contribute for charity whereas men are less interested in working for organizations where salary and promotion opportunities are not as attractive as in business organizations. In addition, these authors further indicated that as the younger staff in Taiwan nonprofit organization quit their job, most of the remaining staff are at a retiring age. This further amplifies human resources problems for these organizations which without adequate funding cannot afford higher wages that will attract professional employees (Kuan, Kao & Pelchat, 2003). 11.

(23) The high turnover rate among staffs in nonprofit organizations has also serious implications for these organizations effectiveness and survival. As KM has become essential for these organizations’ operations performance, the absence of adequate strategies that promote knowledge sharing and knowledge preservation, staff turnover may affect nonprofit organizations capacity to develop an institutional memory (Kuan, Kao, & Pelchat, 2003). Hurley and Green (2005) further pointed that ‘without a system that facilitate the capture and sharing of tacit and explicit knowledge, nonprofit organizations face a constant risk of losing their competitive edge’.. Knowledge Sharing in Nonprofit Organizations Nonprofit organizations of all sizes wrestle with various management pressures. Researchers such as Drucker (1995) indicated that when it comes to effective management, nonprofit organizations need to follow on the footsteps of their for-profit counterparts. Research conducted by KMPG (2000, 2003) has shown that by implementing KM, organizations expect to enhance their capability of managing their knowledge to achieve greater performance. KM is vital for nonprofit organizations whose effectiveness according to Hurley and Green (2005) depends on the transfer of its tacit and explicit knowledge. Hurley and Green (2005) further noted that nonprofit sector’s failure to replicate successful programs is associated with the lack the critical processes and knowledge needed to help them develop, evaluate, document, and share successful programs. Nonprofits organizations’ success is not only defined by their mission and financial performance, but also by their knowledge performance which reflects their ability and capability to act on what has been learned, resulting in continuous improvement and innovation (Som et al., 2010). Therefore, the need to develop better projects or programs has urged nonprofit organizations to capitalize on their ability to tailor the prospective projects by using specialized knowledge. KM facilitates employees in the organization to rely on past experience and knowledge in conducting organization operations and subsequently to achieve superior performance. However, for employees to be able to tap into the knowledge available within the organization, knowledge sharing needs to take place. Lettieri et al. (2004, p.17) stated that ‘only by identifying and sharing the available knowledge spread across the organization can each worker operate appropriately’. 12.

(24) Knowledge sharing is of paramount importance for nonprofit organizations success. In terms of organization success, studies have also shown that knowledge sharing can be an important mean to reach success. First, knowledge sharing has been associated with positive organization outcomes that include performance (e.g. Du et al., 2007; Hsu, 2008; Kang, Kim & Chang, 2008); project success (e.g. Hawryszkiewycz, 2010; Ismail, Md Nor, & Marjani, 2009); improved organizational learning (Hall, 2001); service delivery (e.g. Ismail & Yusof, 2009); innovation (e.g. Liao, 2006; Lin, 2007c); customer and employee satisfaction (e.g. BercerraFernandez & Sabherwal, 2010; Ismail & Yusof, 2010). Secondly, knowledge sharing can be a tool of strategic management. Various researchers have linked knowledge sharing to individuals’ desired behaviors such as organization commitment (e.g. Wong, Tong, & Mula, 2009); organization citizenship (e.g. Mogotsi, Boon, & Fletcher, 2011); employee adaptability (e.g. Almahamid, McAdams & Kalaldeh, 2010). Moreover, it has also been found to be negatively related with turnover intentions (Jacobs & Roodt, 2007, 2011). At last, knowledge sharing helps to enhance employees’ learning and exposure to the latest knowledge in their fields. Geisler and Wickramasinghe (2009) stated that people experience improved literacy, skills, abilities, competence and experience higher sense of accomplishment and empowerment when they have access to usable knowledge and are able to adapt it to their current needs. Despite the importance of knowledge sharing for the success and competitiveness for all types of organizations, few researches with the exception of those conducted by Vuong and Staples (2008) and Liu and Fang (2010) have put an emphasis on its occurrence in nonprofit organizations. Based on the theory of reasoned action (TRA), Voung and Staples (2008) drew on Bock and Kim (2005) knowledge sharing study to determine whether the findings for for-profit organizations would also be applicable to nonprofit organizations. In order to do so, they analyzed how the influence of individuals’ self rated expertise, commitment to organization, anticipated extrinsic and intrinsic incentives and perceptions of organization climate and norms for sharing affected their attitudes toward knowledge sharing by using a sample of 201 of volunteers and paid staff from various Canadian nonprofit organizations. Their findings indicated that while self-rated expertise had no significant impact on attitudes toward knowledge sharing, commitment to organization and extrinsic and intrinsic incentives combined with norms for 13.

(25) sharing were significantly associated with positive attitudes toward knowledge sharing. The author also concluded that intrinsic incentives had greater influence on individuals’ attitudes toward knowledge sharing than extrinsic incentives. Liu and Fang (2010) used a sample 336 of volunteers and full time staff of several Taiwanese nonprofit organizations to analyze the effect of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation on knowledge sharing behavior. The results suggested that individuals’ internal motivation had greater influence on knowledge sharing than external motivation. In addition findings from the study indicated that while hygiene factors were solely related with knowledge sharing behavior, reputation and mutual benefit factors and altruistic characteristics of internal motivation had a significant effect on knowledge sharing willingness and behavior. Research has showed that while individuals may be inclined to voluntary share knowledge with their peers or co-workers, the organization contexts need to support their effort. For example, Janz and Prasarnphanich (2003) stated that organizations need to nurture and develop an environment in which employees are motivated to share what they know in order to improve their knowledge sharing efforts. Although, Bach, Lee, and Carroll (2009) acknowledged the presence of knowledge sharing technologies, and technologies such as e-mail, database store, document management systems, search engine that allow users to share knowledge in nonprofit organizations, little empirical study have addressed whether the organization contexts of these organizations promote employees’ knowledge sharing behavior. In this regard, this research intends to tease out the contextual factors that may support nonprofit organizations’ endeavors in achieving effective implementations of knowledge sharing strategies.. 14.

(26) Literature on Knowledge Sharing Knowledge sharing definitions abound and vary across perspectives. Some authors have equated knowledge sharing to knowledge transfer (e.g. Alavi & Leidner, 2001; Bock & Kim, 2002; Darvish & Nikbakhsh, 2010). For example, Darvish and Nikbakhsh (2010, p. 33) described knowledge sharing as an equation where knowledge sharing (transfer) = Transmission+ Absorption (in use). Such definition of knowledge sharing suggests that knowledge sharing involves two actions which are the recipient’s transmission and absorption and use of the knowledge. Gupta and Govidarajan (2000) definition suggested that knowledge sharing and knowledge flow are intertwined, they described it as the process of identification, outflow, transmission, and inflow of knowledge within an organization. Knowledge sharing has also been described as a learning process whereby there is an adaptation of ideas (Hutchings & Michailova, 2004; Mian, Takala, Kekale, 2008). It is also referred as the ‘set of behaviors that involve the exchange of information or assistance to others’ (Connelly & Kelloway, 2003). Lin (2007a) suggested that knowledge sharing refers to a social interaction culture which involves the exchange of employee knowledge, experiences, and skills through the whole department or organization. Various approaches have been used to examine knowledge sharing. Most studies measured knowledge sharing using either willingness or intention to share knowledge (e.g. Chen, Chen, & Kinshuk, 2009; Cho et al., 2007). Others authors have depicted knowledge sharing as having two facets. For example, Quigley, Tesluk, Locke, and Bartol (2007) proposed a theoretical model connecting two perspectives: the knowledge sender and the knowledge recipient. Several measures have been used to assess knowledge sharing as a combined process of receiving knowledge and sending knowledge (e.g. Foss, Minbaeva, Pedersen, & Reinholt, 2009) and utilizing knowledge and/or seeking knowledge (e.g., Cabrera et al., 2006). Other studies have also conceptualized and measured knowledge sharing as a process involving knowledge donating and collecting (e.g. de Vries et al., 2006; van den Hoof & de Ridder, 2004; Wong et al., 2009). Finally others studies have measured knowledge sharing as knowledge quality and quantity of knowledge (e.g. Chui, Hsu, & Wang, 2006; Ju, Su, Chao, & Wu, 2009). Ho, Hsu, and Oh (2009) noted that the difficulty in setting a standard definition of knowledge sharing is due to the fact that it includes key elements such as the ways of sharing, 15.

(27) levels of sharing and the type of knowledge shared. Although research on knowledge sharing is increasing and indicates that knowledge sharing is complicated due to the fact that it can take different forms, little attention is given to the types of knowledge shared. Knowledge is generally conceived as having two aspects, both tangible and intangible in nature. Tacit knowledge is characterized as intangible whereas explicit knowledge is described as tangible. With that said, each would necessitate different method of sharing. As Guzman and Trivelato (2008) pinpointed ‘overlooking the nature of knowledge weakens any serious examination of the process of transferring knowledge since the process to transfer explicit and tacit knowledge is distinct’. Abdullah et al. (2009) further stressed that the ‘nature of knowledge is a key factor in effective knowledge sharing’. Ma, Qi, and Wang (2008) pointed that wherever knowledge sharing takes place, it is necessary to understand the characteristics of the knowledge itself, such as tacit knowledge or explicit knowledge, in order to obtain effective knowledge sharing. Various researchers have acknowledged the existence of knowledge types in knowledge sharing (e.g. see table 2.1) and some studies have also analyzed knowledge sharing from either a tacit or explicit perspective. For example, Hislop (2002) referring to the transmitter-receiver conduit model of knowledge sharing prioritized explicit knowledge over tacit knowledge. According to the model, the knowledge shared is explicit and is transferred from an isolate sender to a separate receiver (see figure 2.1). Other studies related to knowledge sharing have increasingly emphasized on the importance of tacit knowledge sharing rather than explicit knowledge sharing (e.g. Lin, 2007a; Yang & Farn, 2009). Only a few have addressed both types of knowledge sharing (e.g. Holste, 2003; Lu et al., 2006). Tacit knowledge and explicit knowledge if shared may yield considerable benefits to organizations. Therefore it is important to analyze the knowledge types in knowledge sharing as Bechina and Ndlela (2008/ 2009) noted: ‘recognizing the distinction between knowledge types is necessary to reveal their potential contribution to organization performance’. Knowledge sharing is commonly perceived as a human behavior. It may reflect the degree to which individuals engage in knowledge sharing related activities. It may also reflect the extent to which people are willing to communicate to others their knowledge (i.e. tacit and explicit). For example, Zheng and Bao (2006) described knowledge sharing as the behavior of disseminating and assimilating one’s acquired knowledge with other members within the organization. This 16.

(28) sharing can be carried through different mechanisms. Bartol and Srivasta (2002) noted that individuals can share knowledge: (1) through organizational databases; (2) in formal interactions within or across team or work units; (3) in informal interactions with individuals; and (4) through community of practice. Similarly, Chang, Ho, and Lau (2009) proposed two ways of sharing knowledge which include closed network sharing (i.e. person to person sharing) and open network sharing (i.e. sharing through a KMS). Since the researcher is interested in identifying the impact of knowledge sharing behavior on KMS and innovation, this study adopts the tacit and explicit knowledge sharing behavior approaches of (Aulawi et al., 2009; Holste, 2003; Lu et al., 2006) and the definition of knowledge sharing from Staples and Webster (2008, p.620) which the authors described as an exchange where one party gives some knowledge that she/ he has (explicit or tacit) to another party (a person or a repository).. Sender. Explicit Knowledge. Receiver. Figure 2.1 Postal model of knowledge sharing. Adapted from “Mission impossible? Communicating and sharing knowledge via information technology” by D. Hislop 2002, Journal of Information Technology, 17(4), p.168. Copyright 2002 by Rootledge Taylor and Francis Group.. Table 2.1 Knowledge sharing definitions based on knowledge types Authors /Years. Definitions. Aulawi, Surdiman, Suryadi, &. Knowledge sharing is explained into tacit knowledge. Govindaraju (2009, p.2239). sharing behavior and explicit knowledge sharing behavior. (continued). 17.

(29) Table 2.1 continued Knowledge sharing definitions based on knowledge types Authors /Years. Definitions. Bercerra-Fernandez & Sabherwal. Knowledge sharing is defined as the process through. (2010). which tacit or explicit knowledge is communicated to other individuals.. Hislop (2002, p. 167 ). Knowledge is shared by the transferral of explicit and codified knowledge (in the form of text, a diagram or an electronic document) from an isolate sender to a separate receiver.. Lee (2001). Knowledge sharing refers to activities of transferring or disseminating knowledge (including implicit and explicit knowledge) from one person, group of organization to another.. Siakas & Georgiadou (2006); Van den. Knowledge sharing is the process where individuals. Hoof & de Ridder (2004). mutually exchange both tacit and explicit knowledge, and jointly create new knowledge.. Knowledge sharing is an exchange where one party Staples & Webster (2008). gives some knowledge that she/ he has (explicit or tacit) to another party (a person or a repository).. Knowledge Types- Tacit and Explicit Numbers of writers attempted to delineate a dichotomy between tacit and explicit knowledge. Some suggested that tacit and explicit knowledge are inseparable and mutually constituted (Tsoukas, 1996; Werr & Stjernberg, 2003). Others maintained that explicit and tacit knowledge are separate and distinctive (Haas & Hansen, 2007; Seidler-de Alwis & Hartmann, 18.

(30) 2008). Throughout the KM literature several fundamental differences between these two knowledge characteristics can be highlighted. One important differentiating aspect is the difficulty or ease of codifiability and storage of knowledge. It is argued that the extent to which knowledge can be articulated or codified and stored stems from the very nature of knowledge types. For example, whereas tacit knowledge includes hard- to- communicate skills, know- how and practical knowledge that cannot be easily articulated to another person, explicit knowledge can be easily copied and communicated to others (Cabrera & Cabrera, 2002; Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995). In addition, while explicit knowledge can be stored in a mechanical and technological way such as KMS (Reychav & Weisberg, 2009), tacit knowledge is mostly stored in human beings and can also be effectively stored in social processes and personal face to face interactions (Zaim, 2006). Another essential distinctive characteristic between tacit and explicit knowledge is reflected through their degree of teachability. Smith (2001) stressed that while explicit knowledge can be taught by using for example a trainer’s designed syllabus, or formats selected by the organization, tacit knowledge can mostly be taught through one- to- one basis such as mentorship, coaching, internship, on-the job training, and apprenticeships. Bercerra- Fernandez and Sabherwal (2010) indicated that while explicit knowledge is high in teachability and codifiability, tacit knowledge is low in teachability and codifiability. Other area of comparison between tacit and explicit knowledge include the method of acquisition of knowledge. Yi (2006) suggested that explicit knowledge can be generated through logical deduction and acquired by formal study. In contrast, tacit knowledge can merely be acquired through practical experience in the relevant context. Smith (2001) also pointed that the type of thinking for tacit and explicit knowledge differs. The author maintained while explicit knowledge is logical, based on facts and proven methods facilitates convergent thinking, tacit knowledge is creative, flexible, unchartered and lead to divergent thinking. Tacit and explicit knowledge also differ in their respective role in the organization and outcomes on organization tasks. Rhodes et al. (2008) suggested that explicit knowledge plays a prominent role in the organization’s strategy formulation process. In addition, it has a relatively less expensive economic value because it is impersonal and easy to transfer to other employees 19.

(31) through IT (Reychav & Weisberg, 2009). Although tacit knowledge is considered more expensive, it is valuable because is concerned with shared activities, observation of behavior and direct contact which are associated with more complex ways to interact and acquire knowledge from coworkers (Reychav & Weisberg, 2009, p. 286). In addition, tacit knowledge is found to be a key success in promoting new product development (Subramanian & Venkatraman, 2001) and innovation and performance (Gokman & Hamsioglu, 2011; Harlow, 2008). Lee (2001) used a sample of 195 government offices in Korea that included city, provincial, district and county offices to analyze the influence of knowledge sharing on outsourcing success and partnership quality. The results of their study showed that both tacit and explicit knowledge sharing was positively associated with outsourcing success and partnership quality. Although the correlations of tacit and explicit knowledge sharing and outsourcing were found to be significant at p<.01, the correlation between of explicit knowledge sharing and outsourcing success was slightly higher (r=.444) than that between tacit knowledge sharing and outsourcing success (r=.408). However, the correlations between tacit knowledge sharing and partnership quality was higher (r=.578) than the correlations between explicit knowledge sharing and partnership quality (r=.515).The author concluded that the higher the degree of tacit and explicit knowledge sharing, the greater the accomplishment of the strategic, economic and technological benefits of IS outsourcing. According to Smith (2001) explicit knowledge can be reused to solve many similar types of problems or connect people with valuable, reusable knowledge. As marketplace competition, changing customer needs, among other factor reduces stability; the author suggested that gathering and using explicit knowledge help assume a predictable, relatively stable environment. In contrast, the author explained that opportunities to use tacit knowledge are prime factors in attracting and maintaining a talented and loyal workforce. Smith (2001) also noted that many companies use tacit knowledge to increase individuals’ academic learning and experience. An empirical study conducted by Haas and Hansen (2007) showed that the acquisition and sharing of tacit and explicit knowledge had distinctive benefits for task productivity. For example, in relation to the task productivity measure of time saved, the use of explicit knowledge did have positive time saving benefits, but the acquisition of tacit knowledge did not. By contrast, the sharing of tacit knowledge had different benefits and impacts on task productivity, improving 20.

(32) both task quality and client’s perception of competence, with both being positively related to the quality of the tacit knowledge that was shared. Finally, tacit and explicit knowledge requires different processes and modes for sharing knowledge. Bercerra-Fernandez and Sabherwal (2010) claimed that whether explicit or tacit knowledge is being shared, exchange or socialization processes are used. Socialization, as they discussed, facilitates the sharing of tacit knowledge in cases where new tacit knowledge is being created as well as when new tacit knowledge is not being created. Exchange process differs from socialization as it focuses on the sharing of explicit knowledge (Becerra-Fernandez and Sabherwal, 2010). It is used to communicate or transfer explicit knowledge among individuals, groups, and organizations (Grant, 1996, cited in Becerra- Fernandez-Sabherwal (2010). Besides requiring different processes, the methods for sharing tacit and explicit knowledge also differ. Lee (2001) study suggested that explicit knowledge can be shared through business proposals and reports, business manuals and models, success and failures stories, newspapers, magazines and journals whereas tacit knowledge can be shared through education and training. The author added that tacit knowledge sharing takes place when know- how from work experience and know-where and know-whom are shared. Similarly, an empirical study conducted by Lu, Leung and Koch (2006) has also suggested several means for sharing these two types of knowledge. For instance, Lu et al. (2006) in their research asked the participants to recall the frequency with which they shared eight types of knowledge with their co-workers. Tacit knowledge sharing types included stories about one’s success or failure in the workplace, interpersonal skills, experience and expertise; where and from whom to obtain solutions, and uncodified job-related skills and know-how, whereas explicit knowledge sharing methods included work reports and work requirements, knowledge about archives or databases, and codifiable knowledge.. Organization Context Context can be described as the characteristics of organizations’ setting, of individuals and their role in the organization, and of any other environmental factor that may trigger their responses (Rousseau, 1978). Wang and Noe (2009, 2010) indicated that environment factors 21.

(33) include organization context, interpersonal and team characteristics, and cultural characteristics. Albino, Garavelli, and Schiuma (1998) suggested that context can be divided into internal and external context. Internal context refers to organizational variables such as organization culture that represents groups of behavioral skills, and attitudes. In contrast, the external context refers to all the variables where inter-organizational relationships take place. Organization context has been found to be instrumental in shaping individuals’ attitudes and behaviors (e.g., Rousseau, 1978; Sutton & Rouseau, 1979). Consequently, various research have used organization contexts to study individuals’ responses to socialization (Islam, Ahmad, & Mahtab, 2010); knowledge transfer (Minbaeva, 2007; Rhodes et al., 2008); knowledge sharing (Bock & Kim, 2002; Islam et al., 2010; Lu, Leung, & Koch, 2006; Pai, 2006; Wang & Noe, 2009, 2010); innovation (Carbonell & Rodriguez-Escudero, 2009; Nystrom, Ramamurthy, & Wilson, 2002; Oliveira & Martins, 2011), and KMS use (Kankanhalli, Tan, & Wei, 2005). Organization contexts also referred to as organizational factors (Rhodes et al., 2008) are crucial in influencing individuals’ knowledge sharing behavior. As stressed by Flowers et al. (2010) ‘if employees believe the conditions in their organizations facilitate exchange of information and ideas, they may be more receptive to engage in knowledge sharing behavior’. Moreover, Lu et al. (2006) explained that organization context creates opportunities for employees to interact with each other and foster different degrees and nature of interpersonal relationships. In addition, they stressed that organizations have the authority to take steps to achieve specific goals and can provide resources to support or inhibit certain employee actions. A review of the literature on organization context indicated that contextual factors include technology, top management support, organization culture, and organization structure (e.g. Islam, Mahtab, & Ahmad, 2008; Lu et al., 2006; Pai, 2006; Rhodes et al., 2008). These factors have been claimed to have a positive impact on knowledge sharing. For example, some researchers suggested that technology, organization culture and organization structure can act as enablers (e.g. Gold et al., 2001; Kim & Lee, 2006). While others indicated that they could act as inhibitors or barriers. For example, an empirical investigation conducted by Ruggles (1998) identified main factors that may impede knowledge sharing include culture (54 percent), top Management (32 percent), organizational structure (28 percent) information technology (22 percent). Ling et al.. 22.

(34) (2009) identified several major organizational inhibitors to share knowledge that include lack of management support, lack of attention to organizational culture, and organizational structure. Therefore, to analyze organization context influence on knowledge sharing in a nonprofit organization, this study partially builds on Ruggles (1998) study and partially adopts Lu et al. (2006) tacit and explicit knowledge sharing research framework (see figure.2.3). In addition, KMS and innovation are added for further analysis since they are also affected by both individuals’ knowledge sharing behavior and contextual factors.. Tacit Knowledge Sharing. Organization Support. Information Technology Utilization. Explicit Knowledge Sharing. Figure 2.2 The structural model of knowledge sharing. Adapted from “Managerial knowledge sharing: The role of individual, interpersonal, and organizational factors” by L. Lu, K. Leung, P.T. Koch, 2006, Management and Organization Review, 2 (1), p.31. Copyright 2006 by The Authors Journal of Compilation and by 2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. Relationship between Organization Contexts and Knowledge Sharing This section presents a review of the literature on organization contexts relationship with knowledge sharing. As previously stated, in this study organization contexts encompass information technology, top management support, collaborative culture and organization structure. The hypothesis formulated for this section is as follow: Hypothesis 1: Organization contexts have an effect on knowledge sharing. 23.

(35) Information Technology and Knowledge Sharing Information technology’s role in facilitating knowledge sharing is often a contested topic among researchers and scholars. It is widely argued that although information technology provides a platform for knowledge sharing, it does not suffice to entice nor motivate employees to be engaged in knowledge sharing behavior. Among the empirical studies that asserted the limited role of information technology in ensuring knowledge sharing is the study of a knowledge intensive firm by Robertson and O’Malley (2000) which showed that consultants favored face to face interaction rather than intranet discussion. Similarly, Bordia, Imer, and Abusah’s (2006) study also suggested that knowledge sharing were more significant in the interpersonal context than in the database context. Lin (2007b) study findings showed that information technology was positively associated with knowledge collecting and not related with knowledge donating. Likewise Lin & Lee’s (2006) research concluded that information technology support did not significantly influence knowledge sharing. Alavi, Leidner , and Kaywoth (2005, 2006) found that the values of organizational members influenced the ways in technologies were used, indicating that organizations cannot expect unanimity in the ways in which different groups within the organization will utilize management tools. Contrary to these findings, Bock and Kim’s (2002) research results from the field survey of 467 employees of four public organizations in Korean showed no relationship between information technology usage and knowledge sharing. Various studies, however have found a positive association between information technology and knowledge sharing. For example, Kim and Lee (2006) used a convenience sample of 322 employees in five public and five private organizations in South Korea to analyze the impact of organizational culture, organizational structure, and information technology utilization on employee’s perceptions of knowledge sharing capabilities. The findings revealed that information technology had a significant impact on employees’ perceptions of knowledge sharing capabilities in both public and private sector and among other factors was found to be the most significant factor determining employee knowledge sharing in public organizations. Additionally, Tan, Lye, Hock Ng and Lim (2010) examined the motivational impact of intrinsic factors such as trust, learning, behavior and extrinsic factors as for instance 24.

(36) organizational culture, rewards systems, and information technology on knowledge sharing among 195 employees in Malaysian banks and found that information technology was not only significantly correlated with knowledge sharing, but compared to the other studied factors had a greater influence on knowledge sharing. Information technology capability for knowledge sharing has also been claimed to depend on knowledge type. Some authors have suggested explicit knowledge sharing is enabled through information technology (Mian, Takala, & Kekale, 2008; Reychav & Weisberg, 2009) while others maintained that tacit knowledge due to its embodied nature cannot be shared through information technology. For example, Leonard and Sensiper (1998) noted that much tacit knowledge is generated and transferred through body language, therefore, the use of information technology is only partly possible. Similarly, Haldin-Herrgard (2000) and Hislop (2002) suggested the role of information technology in the sharing of tacit knowledge is somewhat limited. Other authors have adopted difference stances by recognizing that information technology plays a stronger role in supporting the sharing of explicit knowledge rather than the sharing of tacit knowledge (Hildreth & Kimble, 2002; Lu et al., 2006).. Top Management Support and Knowledge Sharing Some studies have shown that top management can be a key inhibitor of knowledge sharing (Ling et al., 2009; McDermott & O’Dell, 2001). Other studies have found that top management support can be positively associated with employees’ perceptions of a knowledge sharing culture, willingness to share knowledge, knowledge sharing behavior (Connelly & Kelloway, 2003; Lin & Lee, 2004; Lin, 2007a; Kang, Kim & Chang, 2008). For example, Connelly and Kelloway (2003) research findings suggested that perceptions of a positive social interaction culture and perceptions about management’s support for knowledge sharing can be significant predictors of a positive knowledge culture. Similarly, Xiong and Deng (2008) used a multi-case study approach to investigate the impact of culture on knowledge sharing in two Chinese joint ventures. They found that top management manifested support for knowledge sharing by advocating active communication between all levels of staff as well as developing a strong team spirit. In addition, their support was apparent in overcoming cultural differences for knowledge sharing by 1) 25.

(37) employing project interpreters to resolve language barrier between the foreign and local employees; and 2) carrying a regular outward training to enhance organizational cohesiveness of employees (p. 1096). Likewise, Lin and Lee (2004) in a survey of 154 Taiwanese senior managers showed that a supportive supervisor and his/her attitude toward knowledge sharing behavior positively influenced intentions to encourage knowledge sharing. Based on a survey of 172 employees from 50 large organizations in Taiwan, Lin (2007a) found that top management support is strongly associated with employee willingness to share knowledge (i.e. knowledge donating and knowledge collecting). Similarly, Kang, Kim and Chang (2008) analyzed the perceptions of 323 public employees in South Korea to determine knowledge sharing impact on work performance and found that support from top management was perceived to have a positive impact on knowledge sharing. Using a sample of 42 organizations in Korea, Lee et al. (2006) found that top management support affected both level and quality of knowledge sharing through influencing employee commitment through KM. Ling et al.’s (2009) found that top management support is vital to ensure knowledge sharing success in organizations. Studies conducted by (Gupta & Govindarajan, 2000) also indicated that management support is essential to promote knowledge sharing within the organization. Top management support has also been found to influence employees’ knowledge through information technology use. Lu, Leung and Koch (2006) found that organization support seemed to promote both tacit and explicit knowledge sharing through encouraging the use of information technology. Moreover, management support for knowledge sharing is also reflected through the provision of rewards. Reychav and Weisberg (2009, p.289-290) noted that while employee tacit knowledge sharing is “expensive”, explicit knowledge sharing is “cheap” and contended that individuals willingness to share both may depend on monetary and non-monetary benefits. Thus management offering rewards for knowledge sharing is also expected to have a positive influence on both tacit and explicit knowledge sharing.. Organization Culture and Knowledge Sharing Organization culture has been shown to be positively related with knowledge sharing. Empirical studies conducted by (Alam, Abdullah, Ishak, & Zain, 2009; Tan, Lye, Hock Ng, and Lim, 2010) reported a positive association between organization culture and knowledge sharing. 26.

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