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Trust, knowledge sharing and organizational commitment in SMEs

Carla Curado (Department of Management, Universidade de Lisboa Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestao, Lisboa, Portugal)
Sílvia Vieira (Universidade de Lisboa Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestao, Lisboa, Portugal)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 13 June 2019

Issue publication date: 23 August 2019




The purpose of this paper is to extend the knowledge on the underlying relation between trust, knowledge sharing (KS) and organizational commitment (OC) in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), by testing the mediator role of KS between trust and OC dimensions.


The paper addresses a sample of 582 top exporting Portuguese SMEs and it tests an original model using structural equation modeling following a partial least square approach.


Results show that trust positively and significantly influences KS and affective and normative OCs. KS partially mediates the relation between trust and affective OC.

Research limitations/implications

This study contributes to both the knowledge management and human resource development literatures, showing the relationship between variables from both bodies of literature. Some limitations apply, the study uses cross-sectional data that limit the conclusions about causality and some restrictions on the generalization of the results also apply due to the used sample.

Practical implications

Results show the importance of encouraging a trustful environment in SMEs on behalf of KS and OC dimensions. Human resource managers could profit from stimulating KS among employees that results in affective OC.


Findings show the relevancy of trust in SMEs and the role of KS that contributes to OC.



The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from FCT- Fundação para a Ciencia e Tecnologia (Portugal) national funding through research grant UID/SOC/04521/2013.


Curado, C. and Vieira, S. (2019), "Trust, knowledge sharing and organizational commitment in SMEs", Personnel Review, Vol. 48 No. 6, pp. 1449-1468.



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