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What factors influence knowledge sharing in organizations? A social dilemma perspective of social media communication

Liana Razmerita (Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark)
Kathrin Kirchner (Berlin School of Economics and Law, Berlin, Germany)
Pia Nielsen (Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 10 October 2016




Enterprise social media platforms provide new ways of sharing knowledge and communicating within organizations to benefit from the social capital and valuable knowledge that employees have. Drawing on social dilemma and self-determination theory, the purpose of this paper is to understand what factors drive employees’ participation and what factors hamper their participation in enterprise social media.


Based on a literature review, a unified research model is derived integrating demographic, individual, organizational and technological factors that influence the motivation of employees to share knowledge. The model is tested using statistical methods on a sample of 114 respondents in Denmark. Qualitative data are used to elaborate and explain quantitative findings.


The findings pinpoint towards the general drivers and barriers to knowledge sharing within organizations. The significant drivers to knowledge sharing are: enjoy helping others, monetary rewards, management support, management encourages and motivates knowledge sharing behavior and knowledge sharing is recognized. The significant identified barriers are: change of behavior, lack of trust and lack of time.

Practical implications

The proposed knowledge sharing framework helps to understand what factors impact engagement on social media. Furthermore, the article suggests different types of interventions to overcome the social dilemma of knowledge sharing.


The study contributes to an understanding of factors leading to the success or failure of enterprise social media drawing on self-determination and social dilemma theory.



The authors would like to thank to Chee-Wee Tan, Elizabeth Davidson, and the anonymous reviewers for helpfull feedback and comments on earlier drafts of this article, as well as to Inger Mees for proof reading earlier versions.


Razmerita, L., Kirchner, K. and Nielsen, P. (2016), "What factors influence knowledge sharing in organizations? A social dilemma perspective of social media communication", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 20 No. 6, pp. 1225-1246.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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