Relationships between organizational trust, knowledge transfer, knowledge creation, and firm's innovativeness

Anna Sankowska (Faculty of Production Engineering, Institute for Organization of Production Systems, Warsaw University of Technology, Warsaw, Poland)

The Learning Organization

ISSN: 0969-6474

Publication date: 4 January 2013



This study seeks to provide empirical evidence of relationships between organizational trust, knowledge transfer, creation and innovativeness at the firm level. It aims to hypothesize a mediational model implying that organizational trust is related to knowledge transfer, which will, in turn, enhance knowledge creation, thereby facilitating higher innovativeness.


Data were collected using a telephone survey from a cross‐section of industries. A total of 202 surveys were carried out among Polish companies listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. Hypotheses were tested using mediation analysis with multiple regression and structural equation modeling.


This paper presents the role of trust as a mechanism facilitating transfer and creation of knowledge within the company, so it can be more innovative. Results indicate that: knowledge creation partially mediates the relationship between trust and innovativeness; and knowledge transfer partially mediates the relationship between trust and knowledge creation.

Research limitations/implications

Cross‐sectional data were collected in Poland. It would be highly valuable to consider replicating this study in different settings using longitudinal designs.

Practical implications

The findings accentuate to managers that both knowledge transfer and creation require organizational trust, which taken together result in innovations.


This paper is the first attempt to find empirical support for the role of organizational trust in knowledge creation. Further, analyzing how organizational trust, knowledge transfer, knowledge creation, and innovativeness are related to each other is also an important contribution.



Sankowska, A. (2013), "Relationships between organizational trust, knowledge transfer, knowledge creation, and firm's innovativeness", The Learning Organization, Vol. 20 No. 1, pp. 85-100.

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