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The impact of knowledge governance on knowledge sharing

Yong Cao (School of Management, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China)
Yang Xiang (School of Management, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 27 April 2012

Abstract

Purpose

Knowledge governance is an organizational mechanism that formally and informally defines how the firm manages the activities related knowledge, thus it has a significant influence on knowledge sharing. The purpose of this study is to analyze the impact of knowledge governance, including formal and informal knowledge governance, on knowledge sharing. Further, the authors examine the mediating role of guanxi effect between knowledge governance and knowledge sharing.

Design/methodology/approach

Based upon their research, the authors chose to use the logic deduction approach for hypotheses and analytical frameworks. Questionnaires and interviews were used to collect data from 339 employees in 39 Chinese strategic emerging firms. Finally, regression analysis and structure equation models by SPSS AMOS were used for data analysis and hypotheses testing.

Findings

This study points to the impact that knowledge governance bears upon knowledge sharing based on the mediation of guanxi effect in China. The results first show that knowledge governance, including formal and informal knowledge governance, plays a key role in knowledge sharing; second, that guanxi effect partly mediates between informal knowledge governance and knowledge sharing; thirdly, guanxi effect plays a whole mediating role between formal knowledge governance and knowledge sharing.

Research limitations/implications

This study presents a framework for Chinese strategic emerging industries to better comprehend the impact of knowledge governance upon knowledge sharing and thus enhance their firm's guanxi networks to maximize economic and social benefit. The managerial implications are that firms should strengthen knowledge governance to promote employee knowledge sharing and infuse a more harmonious atmosphere to strengthen the positive effects of guanxi among employees. Ultimately, Chinese firms must consider and encourage the benefits of the guanxi effect. This study only investigated 339 employees in 39 organizations located in central China. It is limited by employees' cognition. In further research, the authors will identify more samples and develop a large‐scale questionnaire to explore these impacts in more detail and thus enhance their current research.

Originality/value

It is the first attempt in China to systematically investigate the impact of knowledge governance on knowledge sharing based on the mediation of guanxi effect. The results provide a theoretical and methodological contribution to the study of knowledge governance and can thus improve managerial practice in an era of knowledge‐based economies.

Keywords

Citation

Cao, Y. and Xiang, Y. (2012), "The impact of knowledge governance on knowledge sharing", Management Decision, Vol. 50 No. 4, pp. 591-610. https://doi.org/10.1108/00251741211220147

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited