Investigating Knowledge Sharing Among Employees in Saudi Governmental Organisations: An Empirical Study
Knowledge is seen as competitive asset for organisations in today’s knowledge-based economy. Knowledge sharing (KS) has its importance in that employees’ knowledge would not turn into organisational knowledge before it is shared all through the corporation. However, scant research has investigated the factors influencing the employees’ knowledge sharing within organisations in Saudi Arabia. The purpose of this research was to investigate the underlying factors and relationships that determine the employees’ knowledge sharing behaviour within the Saudi governmental organisations. The theoretical framework of this research is based on the theory of reasoned action (Fishbein and Ajzen, 1982) and the theory of planned behaviour (Ajzen, 2005). This research developed and validated a conceptual model that best explains knowledge sharing among the employees within Saudi governmental organisations. Mixed-method research design was employed to investigate the factors influencing employees’ knowledge sharing behaviour. Furthermore, the study adopted, developed and validated instruments to measure the proposed model key constructs. The main research tool was a survey employing a questionnaire distributed to a sample of 383 employees in five Saudi organisations followed by semi-structured interviews with seven employees. The study synthesized a model of knowledge sharing in which the employees’ intention shapes knowledge-sharing behaviour, while intention is determined by the employees’ attitude (ATT), subjective norm (SN), perceived behavioural control (PBC), trust (TR) and propensity or tendency (Tend) to share knowledge. In addition, the model examined the antecedents of the three main beliefs; ATT, SN and PBC. By deconstructing the beliefs, this research looks deeper into the factors influencing knowledge sharing. Moreover, the study looked at the relationship between some of the employees’ demographics and their intentions to share knowledge. The findings of this study revealed that four of the research five factors that were proposed to explain knowledge sharing intention were significant determinants of the employees’ intention to share knowledge. In addition, the findings of the study found evidence for the impact of the decomposed beliefs on ATT, SN and PBC. Yet, time was not found to influence the employees’ PBC. Furthermore, the study findings showed that the employee’s level of education, their organisation’s sector and size are correlated with their intention to share knowledge. In particular, the results show that the employees in Saudi organisations contribute their knowledge because of their natural tendency to share their knowledge, their perceptions of control over contributing their knowledge to other employees, their positive attitude towards sharing knowledge and trust; but surprisingly they are not motivated by the social norms regarding sharing knowledge in this specific context. As such, it is crucial to foster the employees' propensity to share their knowledge as well as eliminate any obstacles on the way to knowledge sharing. Moreover, it is important to enhance the employees’ favourable attitudes and perceptions towards knowledge sharing. Furthermore, this study also demonstrated that trust is a key factor in shaping the employees' intentions to share knowledge, hence, organisation management should foster a trusting culture to reap the benefits of knowledge sharing. Finally, it is hoped that this research will stimulate not only more research on the effects of knowledge sharing, but also more studies in the Saudi context.
- PhD