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Article
Publication date: 21 February 2018

Hui Chen, Miguel Baptista Nunes, Gillian Ragsdell and Xiaomi An

The purpose of this study is to identify and explain the role of individuals’ awareness and motivation in facilitating knowledge sharing (KS) in the real world of…

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1554

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to identify and explain the role of individuals’ awareness and motivation in facilitating knowledge sharing (KS) in the real world of practice, as well as to establish areas of convergence between theory and practice that can be of use to both academics and practitioners involved in knowledge intensive organisations.

Design/methodology/approach

This study used Grounded Theory (GT) as an inductive methodology to collect, analyse and interpret data from multiple case-studies. 44 participants from Chinese software organisations were selected on the basis of their role in SW design and development and were interviewed using a semi-structured interview script. The data analysis followed a Straussian approach to coding, which consists of open coding, axial coding and selective coding. The analysis focused on the impact of individuals’ awareness and motivation to share knowledge.

Findings

The findings of this research show that the motivation for KS – a time consuming and demanding activity – is indeed related to awareness by managers and developers of the benefits of KS in their professional practice. Practitioners shared their experiences and tacit knowledge with others, partly because it was required by their companies, but also because they have a sound awareness of the need to share knowledge both inside and outside their organisations.

Research limitations/implications

As a typical social science inductive study, this research is bounded by the context in which the theory proposed emerged from. Further research should be conducted into a richer variety of organisational and national contexts, as suggested by good theoretical sampling practice, which could provide further insights or contrasts.

Originality/value

Despite a number of theoretical propositions found in the literature, there is a clear lack of implementation strategies and models that explain the role of awareness and motivation in facilitating KS in the world of practice. This issue of applicability of theoretical propositions is now recognised as one of the fundamental key issues in KS. This study provides new and practice grounded insights in this area and is of interest to both practitioners and theoreticians as it explains and bridges the individuals’ awareness and motivation for tacit KS.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

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Article
Publication date: 20 August 2019

Hui Chen, Jose Miguel Baptista Nunes, Gillian Ragsdell and Xiaomi An

The purpose of this paper is to identify and explain the role of individual learning and development in acquiring tacit knowledge in the context of the inexorable and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify and explain the role of individual learning and development in acquiring tacit knowledge in the context of the inexorable and intense continuous change (technological and otherwise) that characterizes our society today, and also to investigate the software (SW) sector, which is at the core of contemporary continuous change and is a paradigm of effective and intrinsic knowledge sharing (KS). This makes the SW sector unique and different from others where KS is so hard to implement.

Design/methodology/approach

The study employed an inductive qualitative approach based on a multi-case study approach, composed of three successful SW companies in China. These companies are representative of the fabric of the sector, namely a small- and medium-sized enterprise, a large private company and a large state-owned enterprise. The fieldwork included 44 participants who were interviewed using a semi-structured script. The interview data were coded and interpreted following the Straussian grounded theory pattern of open coding, axial coding and selective coding. The process of interviewing was stopped when theoretical saturation was achieved after a careful process of theoretical sampling.

Findings

The findings of this research suggest that individual learning and development are deemed to be the fundamental feature for professional success and survival in the continuously changing environment of the SW industry today. However, individual learning was described by the participants as much more than a mere individual process. It involves a collective and participatory effort within the organization and the sector as a whole, and a KS process that transcends organizational, cultural and national borders. Individuals in particular are mostly motivated by the pressing need to face and adapt to the dynamic and changeable environments of today’s digital society that is led by the sector. Software practitioners are continuously in need of learning, refreshing and accumulating tacit knowledge, partly because it is required by their companies, but also due to a sound awareness of continuous technical and technological changes that seem only to increase with the advances of information technology. This led to a clear theoretical understanding that the continuous change that faces the sector has led to individual acquisition of culture and somatic knowledge that in turn lay the foundation for not only the awareness of the need for continuous individual professional development but also for the creation of habitus related to KS and continuous learning.

Originality/value

The study reported in this paper shows that there is a theoretical link between the existence of conducive organizational and sector-wide somatic and cultural knowledge, and the success of KS practices that lead to individual learning and development. Therefore, the theory proposed suggests that somatic and cultural knowledge are crucial drivers for the creation of habitus of individual tacit knowledge acquisition. The paper further proposes a habitus-driven individual development (HDID) Theoretical Model that can be of use to both academics and practitioners interested in fostering and developing processes of KS and individual development in knowledge-intensive organizations.

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Article
Publication date: 8 February 2016

Gillian Ragsdell

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3011

Abstract

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 20 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

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Article
Publication date: 23 October 2009

Gillian Ragsdell

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to an emerging debate centred on the ways in which knowledge management (KM) might be effectively researched and, in turn, how

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3191

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to an emerging debate centred on the ways in which knowledge management (KM) might be effectively researched and, in turn, how KM practice might be improved.

Design/methodology/approach

Burrell and Morgan's paradigms are used to set the scene and to highlight the changing focus in three closely related areas – research per se, the KM movement and KM research. Albeit the changes are not occurring simultaneously, the general trend in these areas is similar i.e. there is a move from a functionalist stance to one based on interpretivism. Next, case study research and participatory action research (PAR) are introduced as examples of research approaches that, respectively, tend to reflect the functionalist and interpretivist paradigms. Then there is an analysis of a KM research project from each of these approaches. Each research project is analysed with respect to five dimensions and in terms of the benefits that the organisation gained for its KM practice. The analysis is used as a vehicle to propose that PAR makes a significant contribution in tackling some of the acknowledged obstacles to effective KM practice.

Findings

The characteristics of PAR would appear to complement KM activities. As such, PAR is put forward as a strategy for meaningfully researching KM while, simultaneously, improving KM practice.

Originality/value

This paper accelerates discussion about how KM research is undertaken and demonstrates how the synergy between PAR and KM can be exploited for the benefit of KM researchers and practitioners.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 13 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

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Article
Publication date: 8 February 2016

Laura E Zapata Cantu and Carlota Eugenia Mondragon

The purpose of this paper is to identify those organizational and personal elements that enable not-for-profit organizations (NPOs) to generate and transfer knowledge…

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1064

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify those organizational and personal elements that enable not-for-profit organizations (NPOs) to generate and transfer knowledge. NPOs are under pressure to use their financial and human resources efficiently, and to improve their activities and services constantly. Knowledge management as a strategy would ensure NPOs’ sustainability and rapid adaptation to dynamic environments.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative study based on interviews, documents and questionnaires was conducted in 28 Mexican NPOs.

Findings

Three main findings were identified: First, Mexican NPOs generate knowledge through courses and seminars based on volunteers’ personal motivation and organizational culture. Second, informal communication media are widely utilized to transfer organizational knowledge. Third, personal commitment to the organization’s mission and trust in their colleagues’ social actions are crucial for knowledge transfer effectiveness, rather than organizational elements.

Research limitations/implications

Results scope of this study is limited to the NPOs under study. The findings expose some highlights for knowledge management process in NPOs in Mexico which would be tested in further research.

Practical implications

Contrary to knowledge management in profit organizations, NPOs must recognize that personal motivation, commitment and trust in organization’s mission and social actions are crucial rather than organizational culture and top management support.

Social implications

NPOs must convert their tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge, which allows NPOs to be transparent and effective, and to have access to more funding opportunities and to replicate their best practices throughout the organization.

Originality/value

There are only few studies of knowledge management processes in NPOs. Some considerations have to be done with respect to personal motivation, commitment and trust, as well as organizational elements.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 20 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

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Article
Publication date: 8 February 2016

Raphaela Stadler and Simone Fullagar

Problem-solving approaches to research have dominated the not-for-profit festival management field. Little attention has been paid to how festival organizations…

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1835

Abstract

Purpose

Problem-solving approaches to research have dominated the not-for-profit festival management field. Little attention has been paid to how festival organizations successfully create cultures where knowledge transfer is practised within the high intensity of a festival life cycle. Drawing upon insights from social practice theory and appreciative inquiry (AI), the purpose of this paper is to offer a different conceptual approach to understanding how knowledge transfer “works” as an organizational practice to produce a collaborative festival culture.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper draws upon an ethnographic case study with the highly acclaimed Queensland Music Festival organization in Australia. The research questions and methods were framed around an appreciative approach that identified formal and informal practices that " worked " rather than a conventional problem-focused analysis.

Findings

This research focused on appreciating the cultural context that shaped the interrelationships between formal and informal knowledge transfer practices that enabled trust and collaboration. A range of knowledge transfer practices was identified that contributed to the creation of a shared festival ethos and the on-going sustainability of the festival vision.

Practical implications

The not-for-profit sector brings numerous challenges for festival organizations, and there is a need to appreciate how collaborative and creative knowledge transfer can occur formally and informally. Festival organizers can benefit from understanding the relational and practice dimensions of knowledge management as they are performed within specific organizational contexts.

Originality/value

An appreciative understanding of knowledge transfer practices has not yet been applied to not-for-profit festival organizations, where problem-solving approaches dominate the field.

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Article
Publication date: 8 February 2016

Lyndsay Bloice and Simon Burnett

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…

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2343

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.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 20 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

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Article
Publication date: 14 October 2014

Gillian Ragsdell and Allan Jepson

The purpose of this paper is to report the findings of a British Academy funded project that investigated the knowledge sharing activities of volunteers within three…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to report the findings of a British Academy funded project that investigated the knowledge sharing activities of volunteers within three Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) festivals.

Design/methodology/approach

Three case study festivals were selected based on factors such as longevity and size. Rich qualitative data were collected using semi-structured interviews with volunteers in key festival roles and focus groups with a range of other volunteers.

Findings

A range of inhibitors and enablers to sharing festival knowledge were identified, some of which have not yet featured in the knowledge management (KM) literature. Riege's categorisation of individual, organisational and technological barriers to knowledge sharing was used to frame discussion of the findings.

Research limitations/implications

Volunteer-led festivals are a novel context for knowledge sharing research yet the principles of volunteer working and the project-based approach to most festivals means they are a fertile arena for lessons in KM.

Practical implications

Insights into knowledge sharing activities were generated from this study which could improve KM practices in festivals. They included the use of the master-apprentice model, raising the value of post-project reviews and designing festival layout with knowledge sharing in mind.

Originality/value

The study of knowledge sharing is an original contribution to the field of event management.

Details

International Journal of Event and Festival Management, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1758-2954

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Article
Publication date: 8 February 2016

Diana Clayton

This paper aims to explore how and why volunteers share knowledge and engage in other related knowledge activities. The paper offers an interpretation of participants…

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1763

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore how and why volunteers share knowledge and engage in other related knowledge activities. The paper offers an interpretation of participants’ multiple realities to enable a better understanding of managing volunteer knowledge, which ultimately underpins organisational performance and effectiveness.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative, hermeneutic phenomenological study of volunteers (n = 28) at UK music festivals was conducted through in-depth interviews (n = 9), diaries (n = 11) or both (n = 8). This interpretivist approach adopted purposive sampling to recruit participants through (social) media.

Findings

The findings illustrate how and why volunteers share knowledge that is attributed to a successful process of volunteering, which enables effective knowledge management and knowledge reproduction. Where volunteers’ motivations are satisfied, this leads to repeat volunteering. Knowledge enablers and the removal of barriers create conditions that are conducive for knowledge sharing, which have similar characteristics to conditions for continuance commitment. Where volunteers do not return, the organisation leaks knowledge.

Research limitations/implications

Although high-quality research standards were maintained, participant self-selection may result in overly positive experiences. Future research might explore the impact on knowledge sharing of negative volunteering experiences.

Practical/implications

Practical recommendations include factors that contribute to effective volunteer co-ordination and volunteering experiences, which are enablers for knowledge sharing. These fall within two categories, namely, areas for continuance (i.e. those aspects that should be maintained because they contribute to effective volunteer co- ordination and experiences) and areas for improvement (i.e. those aspects of volunteer co-ordination that are either currently lacking or require development or enhancement).

Originality/value

This paper’s original contribution is demonstrated through the use of hermeneutic phenomenological methods in the exploration of individuals’ perspectives of knowledge sharing in the context of temporary organisations. This paper provides value to academics studying knowledge management and volunteer management, and practitioners managing volunteers.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 20 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

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Article
Publication date: 8 February 2016

Dinesh Rathi, Lisa M. Given and Eric Forcier

This paper aims to present findings from a study of non-profit organizations (NPOs), including a model of knowledge needs that can be applied by practitioners and scholars…

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3026

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to present findings from a study of non-profit organizations (NPOs), including a model of knowledge needs that can be applied by practitioners and scholars to further develop the NPO sector.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey was conducted with NPOs operating in Canada and Australia. An analysis of survey responses identified the different types of knowledge essential for each organization. Respondents identified the importance of three pre-determined themes (quantitative data) related to knowledge needs, as well as a fourth option, which was a free text box (qualitative data). The quantitative and qualitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistical analyses and a grounded theory approach, respectively.

Findings

Analysis of the quantitative data indicates that NPOs ' needs are comparable in both countries. Analysis of qualitative data identified five major categories and multiple sub-categories representing the types of knowledge needs of NPOs. Major categories are knowledge about management and organizational practices, knowledge about resources, community knowledge, sectoral knowledge and situated knowledge. The paper discusses the results using semantic proximity and presents an emergent, evidence-based knowledge management (KM)-NPO model.

Originality/value

The findings contribute to the growing body of literature in the KM domain, and in the understudied research domain related to the knowledge needs and experiences of NPOs. NPOs will find the identified categories and sub-categories useful to undertake KM initiatives within their individual organizations. The study is also unique, as it includes data from two countries, Canada and Australia.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 20 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

Keywords

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