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Three‐dozen knowledge‐sharing barriers managers must consider

Andreas Riege (Lecturer at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. He has attained the degree of Diplom‐Kaufmann from the Friedrich‐Alexander University of Nuremberg and received his PhD in strategic marketing from the Queensland University of Technology of Brisbane. He has worked for more than ten years in advertising and retail marketing in Germany and Australia, and has published his research in a number of internationally refereed academic and practitioner journals. His current research agenda concentrates on knowledge‐sharing barriers in SMEs and MNCs, the interface of HRM and KM, and direct marketing.)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 1 June 2005




Knowledge sharing is the corner‐stone of many organisations’ knowledge‐management (KM) strategy. Despite the growing significance of knowledge sharing's practices for organisations’ competitiveness and market performance, several barriers make it difficult for KM to achieve the goals and deliver a positive return on investment. This paper provides a detailed review of current KM and related literatures on a large number of possible knowledge‐sharing barriers with the purpose of offering a more comprehensive and structured starting‐point for senior managers when auditing their organisation's current knowledge base and knowledge‐sharing requirements.


This article reviews and discusses over three dozen potential knowledge‐sharing barriers, categorising them into three main domains of recently published works: individual/personal, organisational, and technological barriers.


The extensive list of knowledge sharing barriers provides a helpful starting point and guideline for senior managers auditing their existing practices with a view to identifying any bottle‐necks and improving on the overall effectiveness of knowledge‐sharing activities.

Practical implications

Managers need to realise, however, that a particular knowledge sharing strategy or specific managerial actions will not suit all companies and that there are differences to be expected between MNCs and SMEs, private, public sector, and not‐for‐profit organisations. As such, the implementation of knowledge‐sharing goals and strategies into an organisation's strategic planning and thinking will vary greatly.


The main discussion of this paper brings together a large range of knowledge‐ sharing barriers in an attempt to indicate the complexity of knowledge sharing as a value‐creating organisational activity.



Riege, A. (2005), "Three‐dozen knowledge‐sharing barriers managers must consider", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 18-35.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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