The Role of Organizational Culture in Knowledge Sharing in Higher Education Institutions: A Social Capital Perspective




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De Montfort University


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Peer reviewed


A majority of the activities performed in higher education institutions are routines that need to be learned, remembered and refined for improvement. In addition to this, higher education institutions need to compete and innovate at a time when their performances are measured in detail by their management, students, governments and other external bodies. Sharing knowledge critical to the proper accomplishment of these routines is, therefore, necessary for the survival and progress of higher education institutions. This research investigates the role of organizational culture in knowledge sharing in higher education institutions and its relationship with social capital. It focuses on the human and organizational facets of information systems research. Existing empirical research in the area was reviewed and mixed methods research utilizing a questionnaire and a set of interviews was adopted to collect and analyse the data. The questionnaire collected data respondents working in two higher education colleges in Saudi Arabia. The respondents included academic and administrative staff with varying levels of education and work experience. The purpose of the questionnaire was to gauge the respondents’ attitudes towards knowledge sharing and how social capital may affect their knowledge sharing attitudes. The findings show that employee’s positive attitudes towards knowledge sharing do not necessarily show the existence of an effective knowledge sharing practice. The interviews aimed to draw on managers’ views on knowledge sharing and how it relates to institutional routines. 17 managers were targeted in this interview to get more insights on their attitudes and to seek further clarifications for the results shown by analysis of the questionnaire data. The outcome of the interview analysis also supports the existence of a relationship between knowledge sharing and social capital in higher education institutions. The findings further show that trust, participation, socialization and rewards strongly influence knowledge sharing attitudes among employees of higher education. The research contributes original knowledge by proposing a model for sharing knowledge in higher education institutions. The model adapts and extends previous models while adding new sub-steps that are crucial for the completion of the knowledge management cycle. The model was validated through expert opinion elicited in a focus group comprising of 15 respondents who are engaged in managing higher education departments and committees. The research also combines various social capital measurement models to propose a concise and more practical model.





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