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An exploratory examination of knowledge- sharing behaviors: solicited and voluntary

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PurposeKnowledge sharing (KS) has been a central concern in knowledge management (KM) practice and research. However, KS has remained largely a simplistic concept. This study aims to differentiate between solicited KS and voluntary KS and also to attempt to examine the role of both types of KS in relation to task, culture, technology and KM processes at the work unit level. Design/methodology/approachThe survey method was used. The questionnaire was issued to MBA students enrolled in a major southern university's cohort-based program for working professionals, and a total of 149 usable responses were collected. FindingsIt was found that task routineness and open communication facilitate only solicited sharing behaviors, while perception of solidarity is significantly related to voluntary sharing behaviors. In addition, knowledge tools and tacit-oriented KM processes were found to play a significant role in both voluntary and solicited KS. Research limitations/implicationsExploratory analysis points to differentiated influence of these environmental conditions on the two KS types, suggesting further implications for research and practice. With the realization that voluntary sharing is a more proactive form of KS, KM practitioners may find it beneficial to monitor different forms of KS. Originality/valueWhile KS has been the focus of intensive research in recent years, the concept itself has remained surprisingly simplistic among researchers. This study differentiates between two forms of KS: solicited KS and voluntary KS.
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Keywords: Knowledge management; Technology led strategy

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-02-22

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