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An investigation of the factors that influence knowledge sharing between academics

Fullwood, Roger William (2014) An investigation of the factors that influence knowledge sharing between academics. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

Managing knowledge has been a broadly successful strategy for many organisations during the last 30 years or so. Harnessing the power of both explicit and tacit knowledge enabled companies such as Apple and Chevron to gain competitive advantage over their competitors. A key requirement for successful knowledge management is however that the individual should be prepared to share their tacit knowledge with others. Knowledge sharing factors in general have been subject to considerable research; however research on sharing knowledge in higher education is rare. This thesis seeks to the address the research gap by examining the factors that influence knowledge sharing between academic in UK universities. The research contributes to the literature by investigating the influence of both organisational and individual factors on knowledge sharing between academics in a departmental context. The research approach has consisted of a two stage mixed methods process where a questionnaire survey of academics preceded a series of interviews. Findings from questionnaires indicated that academics had a generally positive attitude and intention to share knowledge and believed that sharing would improve and extend relationships with colleagues. They were quite neutral about how they were led and had a generally higher level of affiliation to discipline than to institution, and also considered that departmental structure did not encourage sharing. Interview findings suggested that many academics were unhappy with the matrix structure and that there was a lack of clarity regarding roles and responsibilities within their departments. They singled out trust as the most important individual factor to influence knowledge sharing and culture as the most critical organisational factor.

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