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Barriers to knowledge sharing in third sector social care: a case study

Lyndsay Bloice (Research Institute for Management Governance and Society (IMaGeS), Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, UK)
Simon Burnett (Research Institute for Management Governance and Society (IMaGeS), Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, UK)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 8 February 2016

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to build on existing theory of knowledge sharing barriers (KSBs) by exploring the concept in the relatively under-researched context of social service not-for-profit organisations.

Design/methodology/approach

In this study, case study methodology was used. Practitioner staff members took part in online questionnaires, followed by semi-structured interviews with line management and middle management staff. Secondary sources from the case study organisation were also used in the analysis. The analysis of questionnaire responses alongside responses from semi-structured interviews is compared with extant research into KSBs.

Findings

The findings of this study highlight the need to re-examine the KSBs identified in the literature to reflect contexts beyond the private sector. Common barriers were identified, but some found in the case study organisation did not neatly fit into the existing definitions of KSBs. An updated list of KSBs to reflect this social service not-for-profit context is presented.

Research limitations/implications

Case studies are often not generalisable; however, the KSB list developed here could be further explored and tested in other third sector organisations.

Practical implications

The research raises the question of applicability of current knowledge management (KM) theory and lexicon in the third sector and social care environment.

Originality/value

This study provides an insight into KM applicability in a third sector context, which is a relatively under-developed research area.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the staff at Scottish Autism for their participation in questionnaires and interviews.

Citation

Bloice, L. and Burnett, S. (2016), "Barriers to knowledge sharing in third sector social care: a case study", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 20 No. 1, pp. 125-145. https://doi.org/10.1108/JKM-12-2014-0495

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited