Knowledge sharing and innovation in Spanish and Colombian high-tech firms

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PurposeThe aim of this paper is to empirically test the degree of influence of different knowledge sharing mechanisms (ICT-based, personal interaction-based, and embedded in management processes) on innovation capability (both on ideation and on innovation project management), as well as the influence of each first-level innovation capacity on company performance. Design/methodology/approachA questionnaire was designed and addressed to the CEOs of the companies making up the target population (Spanish and Colombian medium-high and high technology firms with more than 50 employees and R&D activities). Structural equation modelling (SEM) based on partial least squares (PLS) was then applied to test the hypotheses drawn from the research. FindingsThe results obtained show that knowledge sharing is a key issue in order to enhance innovation capability. With the exception of ICT-based knowledge sharing mechanisms (whose influence on the generation of new ideas is not statistically significant), all types of mechanism considered exert a significant impact both on ideation and on innovation project management (although their degree of relevance varies), and account for a great deal of variance in both constructs. Differences between countries arise when it comes to the influence of each first-level innovation capacity on company performance. Research limitations/implicationsTraditional limitations of cross-sectional studies apply. Originality/valueThe main contribution of this paper is to provide empirical evidence about the impact of knowledge sharing on innovation. Moreover, it reveals what the most effective knowledge sharing mechanisms are for this purpose and provide companies with a basic framework in order to shape their knowledge management strategies in this domain.
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