Gestion del conocimiento

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Organizational culture and knowledge sharing: critical success factors
Adel Ismail Al-Alawi, Nayla Yousif Al-Marzooqi and Yasmeen Fraidoon Mohammed

Abstract Purpose – This research aims at investigating the role of certain factors in organizational culture in the success of knowledge sharing. Such factors as interpersonal trust, communication between staff, information systems, rewards andorganization structure play an important role in defining the relationships between staff and in turn, providing possibilities to break obstacles to knowledge sharing. This research is intended to contribute in helping businesses understand the essential role of organizational culture in nourishing knowledge and spreading it in order to become leaders in utilizing their know-how and enjoyingprosperity thereafter. Design/methodology/approach – The conclusions of this study are based on interpreting the results of a survey and a number of interviews with staff from various organizations in Bahrain from the public and private sectors. Findings – The research findings indicate that trust, communication, information systems, rewards and organization structure are positively related to knowledgesharing in organizations. Adel Ismail Al-Alawi is based at the Department of Management Information Systems, University of Bahrain, College of Information Technology, Kingdom of Bahrain. Nayla Yousif Al-Marzooqi is based at the United Gulf Bank, Adliya-Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain. Yasmeen Fraidoon Mohammed is based at JP Morgan Chase Bank, East Riffa, Kingdom of Bahrain. Researchlimitations/implications – The authors believe that further research is required to address governmental sector institutions, where organizational politics dominate a role in hoarding knowledge, through such methods as case studies and observation. Originality/value – Previous research indicated that the Bahraini society is influenced by traditions of household, tribe, and especially religion of the Arab and Islamicworld. These factors define people’s beliefs and behaviours, and thus exercise strong influence in the performance of business organizations. This study is motivated by the desire to explore the role of the national organizational culture on knowledge sharing, which may be different from previous studies conducted abroad. Keywords Knowledge sharing, Trust, Communications, Organizational structures,Organizational culture Paper type Research paper

Background Knowledge can be defined as a combination of experience, values, contextual information and expert insight that help evaluate and incorporate new experience and information (Gammelgaard and Ritter, 2000). Knowledge not only exists in documents and repositories, but it becomes embedded in people’s minds overtime and it isdemonstrated through their actions and behaviours. The growing use of knowledge in businesses contributed to the emergence of the theory of knowledge management (Aranda and Fernandez, 2002), which is currently one of the hottest topics in information technology and management literature.

The authors wish to acknowledge the assistance of Ms Aisha Jalal from EDS Gulf States in completing thisresearch.

The process of knowledge management involves several activities. The most commonly discussed activity in the process of knowledge management nowadays is knowledge transfer (knowledge sharing) (Ford, 2001).





VOL. 11 NO. 2 2007, pp. 22-42, Q Emerald Group Publishing Limited, ISSN 1367-3270

DOI 10.1108/13673270710738898 Knowledge sharing is critical to a firm’s success (Davenport and Prusak, 1998) as it leads to faster knowledge deployment to portions of the organization that can greatly benefit from it (Syed-Ikhsan and Rowland, 2004). Scope of the study According to Gupta and Govindarajan (2000), organizational culture involves six major categories: information systems, people, process, leadership, reward system and...
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