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Good problem solvers? Leveraging knowledge sharing mechanisms and management support

Ambra Galeazzo (Department of Economics and Management, University of Padova, Padova, Italy)
Andrea Furlan (Department of Economics and Management, University of Padova, Padova, Italy)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Publication date: 12 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

Organizational learning relies on problem-solving as a way to generate new knowledge. Good problem solvers should adopt a problem-solving orientation (PSO) that analyzes the causes of problems to arrive at an effective solution. The purpose of this paper is to investigate this relevant, though underexplored, topic by examining two important antecedents of PSO: knowledge sharing mechanisms and transformational leaders’ support.

Design/methodology/approach

Hierarchical linear modeling analyses were performed on a sample of 131 workers in 12 plants. A questionnaire was designed to collect data from shop-floor employees. Knowledge sharing was measured using the mechanisms of participative practices and standardized practices. Management support was assessed based on the extent to which supervisors engaged in transformational leadership.

Findings

Knowledge sharing mechanisms are an antecedent of PSO behavior, but management support measured in terms of transformational leadership is not. However, transformational leadership affects the use of knowledge sharing mechanisms that, in turn, is positively related to PSO behavior.

Practical implications

The research provides practical guidance for practitioners to understand how to manage knowledge in the workplace to promote employees’ PSO behaviors.

Originality/value

Though problem-solving activities are intrinsic in any working context, PSO is still very much underrepresented and scarcely understood in knowledge management studies. This study fills this gap by investigating the antecedents of PSO behavior.

Keywords

Citation

Galeazzo, A. and Furlan, A. (2019), "Good problem solvers? Leveraging knowledge sharing mechanisms and management support", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 23 No. 6, pp. 1017-1038. https://doi.org/10.1108/JKM-05-2018-0290

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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