The aim of this paper is to investigate the impact of knowledge sharing (KS) on firm performance and the mediating role of intellectual capital (IC).
A research model was developed based on prior KS and IC studies. A survey was administered to a sample of high technology firms in China and 228 usable responses were collected. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was employed to test the research model.
Tacit KS significantly was found to contribute to all three components of IC, namely human, structural and relational capital, while explicit KS only has a significant influence on human and structural capital. Human, structural and relational capital, enhance both operational and financial performance of firms. The effect of KS on firm performance is mediated by IC. Explicit KS has a greater effect on financial performance than operational performance, whereas tacit KS has a greater impact on operational performance than financial performance.
The sample of high technology firms in China might limit the generalization of the findings. Nonetheless, this study takes its lead from and extends prior research, thus providing a deepened understanding of the role of KS in organizational settings.
The paper suggests that managers can enhance firm performance by enhancing their KS and IC. Managers can develop corresponding strategies based on the findings to achieve their specific performance goals.
This is one of the first papers to examine how KS contributes to firm performance through the mediation of IC. It will add significant value for organizations trying to enhance their performance though KS practices.
This research is partly supported by National Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 71101065 and 70971056), Chinese Education Ministry Foundation of Humanities and Social Sciences for Young Scholar (Grant No. 11YJC630218 and 10YJC630242), Postdoctoral Science Foundation funded project of China (Grant No. 2012M511820), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Grant No. JGJ 110761), Anhui Provincial Natural Science Foundation (Grant No. 1208085QG128), and Anhui Provincial Key Research Base of Humanity & Society Science Important Foundation (Grant No. SK2012A155).
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