Knowledge sharing among teachers: the role of the Big Five Personality traits

Date08 February 2016
Published date08 February 2016
AuthorFranklin Gyamfi Agyemang,Michael Dzigbordi Dzandu,Henry Boateng
Knowledge sharing among
teachers: the role of the
Big Five Personality traits
Franklin Gyam Agyemang
Royal Ann College of Health, Kumasi, Ghana
Michael Dzigbordi Dzandu
Department of Business Informatics, Systems and Accounting,
University of Reading, Reading, UK, and
Henry Boateng
Department of Marketing and Customer Management,
University of Ghana Business School, Accra, Ghana
Purpose The purpose of this study was to ascertain the effect of personality traits on
knowledge-sharing attitude and behaviour among teachers.
Design/methodology/approach – The study employed a survey research. Convenience sampling
technique was used to select the sample of 300 respondents out of which 247 was used in the nal
analysis. Data was analysed using hierarchical regression.
Findings – The results indicate that the Big Five Personality traits have effects on knowledge-sharing
attitude and behaviour of teachers. With the exception of conscientiousness trait, all the traits used in
this study cause a signicant change in the variations of the knowledge-sharing attitude and behaviour
of the teachers.
Research limitations/implications – The main limitation of the study is the use of the convenient
sampling technique in choosing the subject; however, this was because there was no sampling frame,
making it difcult to use probability-sampling technique.
Originality value – This study contributes to the growing literature on the relationships among
personality traits and knowledge sharing attitude and behaviour.
Keywords Knowledge sharing, Personality, Personality traits, Knowledge management,
Sub-Sahara Africa
Paper type Research paper
In recent times, individuals, organizations and economies have being placing high value
on knowledge and how it can be managed to their advantage. This might have
contributed to the growing body of literature on knowledge management and its
processes, especially on knowledge sharing. The knowledge-based theories mostly posit
that the fundamental goal of every organization must be to integrate knowledge
(Nonaka et al., 2000;Grant, 1996). Knowledge is the only resource that enables
individuals or organizations to take the right action (Tsoukas and Vladimirou, 2001).
Therefore, there is the need for individuals and organizations to promote knowledge
sharing to enhance decision-making. Knowledge sharing has been generally accepted to
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
Received 9 December 2014
Revised 15 February 2015
7 July 2015
17 August 2015
30 August 2015
Accepted 27 September 2015
VINEJournal of Information and
KnowledgeManagement Systems
Vol.46 No. 1, 2016
©Emerald Group Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/VJIKMS-12-2014-0066
be a key dimension of effective knowledge management; hence, there is the need to
incorporate it into the day-to-day activities of organizations. However, some employees
normally ignore and hinder knowledge sharing in their organizations (Yang, 2008).
Previous studies have attributed this behaviour to individual factors such as intrinsic
and extrinsic motivation (Osterloh and Frey, 2000) and trust (Chai and Kim, 2010),
among others. Similarly, some scholars believe that personality traits are a key
antecedent of human behaviour (Jadin et al., 2013), and therefore have the potential of
inuencing individual’s knowledge-sharing behaviour. However, few studies, have
provided empirical evidence on the relationship between personality traits and
knowledge-sharing behaviour, with most of them conducted in Western (Matzler et al.,
2008;Gupta, 2008;Raducanu, 2012) and Asian (Teh et al., 2011) regions with fewer
conducted in Sub-Saharan Africa (Van de Vijver and Leung, 2001;Van de Vijver and
Rothman, 2004). Considering the fact that one’s social environment can affect his/her
personality and also behaviour, it is appropriate that scholars investigate the
association between personality traits and knowledge sharing from Sub-Saharan
African context where the environment is different from those of the Western and Asian
regions. Additionally, although personality has been linked to individuals’ attitude
(Hawkins and Motherbaugh, 2013), it appears there is paucity of literature on
personality traits and its effect on knowledge-sharing attitude of individuals. Again, it
appears that previous studies have paid little attention to knowledge sharing in
academic institutions (Seonghee and Boryung, 2008), particularly in second-cycle
institutions, where it appears that every teacher wants to build his or her reputation as
the best teacher. This situation creates the syndrome of where knowledge is equated to
power and therefore may not be shared. Balvín (2012) notes that the personality of a
teacher can play a decisive role in education and learning as well as inuence knowledge
sharing (Yin, 1996). However, few empirical studies (Teh et al., 2011) exist on how
teachers’ personality can inuence their knowledge-sharing behaviour. It is against this
background that this paper investigates the effect of the Big Five Personality traits on
knowledge-sharing attitude and behaviour of teachers in second-cycle institutions in
Ghana. This paper contributes to the growing body of literature on personality traits
and knowledge sharing from a second cycle institution context as well as Sub-Saharan
African context, where limited studies exist. Again, this study has the potential of
improving knowledge sharing as well as performance of teachers in second-cycle
institution, as knowledge sharing can affect individuals’ performance. The study can
also help reduce knowledge that is lost when a teacher is transferred from one school to
another. The rest of the paper is divided into three sections. Section 1 presents literature
review, while Section 2 presents the methodology used. Section 3 focuses on the
discussion, conclusion and research implications.
Knowledge sharing among teachers
Knowledge can be dened as information that has been processed into a form that is
meaningful to the user. Nonaka (1994) describes knowledge as existing in two
dimensions: explicit and tacit. Explicit knowledge or “codied” knowledge (Nonaka and
Takeuchi, 1995) can be easily communicated and diffused. It is noted that teachers
mostly share explicit knowledge with their students in the form of the course syllabi and
teaching materials which have been predetermined by the education ministry. The
knowledge found in these prescribed textbooks are codied in the form of symbols such

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