The Generation and Sharing of Knowledge within Organisations: Macro-level and Micro-level Influences on Individual Knowledge Sharing Orientation and Behaviour
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The ability of an organisation to respond quickly to changing circumstances and marketplace demands has been identified as an important factor in organisational effectiveness, particularly where work innovation is involved. Hence, knowledge generation and sharing practices in an organisational setting are central to organisational effectiveness. This dissertation identifies the mediating influence of relations between organisations and their workers, and the relations among workers, on knowledge generation and sharing practices. The dissertation elaborates occurrences within a socially-constructed system, specifically, within a public sector organisational setting, that shape knowledge sharing. Through an analysis of both macro and micro level organisational practices and behaviour, it identifies factors shaping the relations between organisations and knowledge sharing. These comprise: (a) the generation of knowledge, (b) the contested nature of the process of knowledge construction, (c) the impact of the individual worker’s experience of the organisation’s internal environment on shaping their knowledge sharing orientation, (d) how the organisation is understood to value knowledge sharing, (e) the impact of relations with colleagues on knowledge sharing behaviours, and (f) the perceived outcomes of knowledge sharing behaviours. The organisation’s external environment was found to create premises for its practices, bases for its workers’ beliefs, orientations and actions, and was an important factor influencing knowledge generation and sharing goals and activities. Factors in the internal macro-level environment (e.g. the organizing principles, control systems, networks and power relations), framed the structure, exercise, coordination and communication of individual expertise and patterns of cooperation. These are important because they constitute an introduction to the organisational dynamics that workers experience in the organisation on a daily basis, thereby informing their perceptions, beliefs and decision-making about knowledge generation and sharing. Salient micro-level factors that influence the development of the individual’s relationship with their organisation and their knowledge sharing orientation and are all held to act as important influences, are identified as: (a) the individual worker’s affective organisation commitment; (b) trust levels between individuals, groups and between an individual and their supervisor; (c) feelings of security (including feeling valued personally and for specific expertise); (d) role clarity and linkages; (e) rewards for job involvement and extra-role behaviour, (f) the experienced reciprocity of effort and reward, (g) experienced organisational justice, and (h) discretion to question, innovate and improve. This dissertation makes clear connections between action and theory. Through adopting a case study approach, its contribution is uniquely integrative. It elaborates an understanding of knowledge generation and sharing practices and why these practices need to be accounted for in an organisation’s activities and social practices. Yet, because of both micro and macro level contributions these behaviours need to be understood in the specific contexts of organisation members’ activities and practices. Hence, the dissertation advances insights to inform future practice, arising from the centrality of knowledge sharing to organisations’ sustainability and the dependency on workers’ understanding of their relations with the organisation, its representatives and their co-workers.
Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
School of Education and Professional Studies
Item Access Status
organisational knowledge practices