Organizational performance through the donation and collection of interorganizational knowledge

Date08 February 2016
Published date08 February 2016
AuthorFelipe Nodari,Mirian Oliveira,Antonio Carlos Gastaud Maçada
Organizational performance
through the donation and
collection of interorganizational
Felipe Nodari
School of Business, Pontical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul
(PUCRS), Porto Alegre, Brazil
Mirian Oliveira
School of Business, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do
Sulm Porto Alegre, Brazil, and
Antonio Carlos Gastaud Maçada
Management School, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS),
Porto Alegre, Brazil
Purpose This paper aims to provide empirical evidence to support the relationship between
interorganizational knowledge sharing, absorptive capacity and organizational performance, and
proposes that interorganizational knowledge sharing is composed of two processes: knowledge
donation and collection.
Design/methodology/approach – A quantitative methodology is adopted to examine the proposed
relationship between interorganizational knowledge sharing, absorptive capacity and organizational
performance. The study uses survey data from 269 companies in Brazil. Structural equation modeling
is applied to test the stated hypotheses and the model.
Findings – The empirical ndings indicate that interorganizational knowledge sharing is composed
of the donation and collection of knowledge. Interorganizational knowledge collection is found to have
a positive effect on interorganizational knowledge donation, while collection is found to have a positive
effect, mediated by absorptive capacity, on organizational performance.
Research limitations/implications One limitation of this research was the predominant
participation of smaller companies. Another is that the data were only collected from Brazilian
companies. Moreover, an instrument to measure these constructs was proposed and validated to enable
future research to be conducted into the process of interorganizational knowledge sharing and its
components: knowledge donation and knowledge collection.
Practical implications – Managers can enhance organizational performance by developing both the
donation and collection of knowledge. Knowledge donation is particularly important because, in
addition to its impact on absorptive capacity and organizational performance, it contributes to the
development of knowledge collection, which is also indirectly related to performance.
The authors are grateful for the support provided by CAPES (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento
de Pessoal de Nível Superior – Brazil) and CNPq (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento
Cientíco e Tecnológico – Brazil).
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
Received 4 September 2014
Revised 19 June 2015
Accepted 2 August 2015
VINEJournal of Information and
KnowledgeManagement Systems
Vol.46 No. 1, 2016
©Emerald Group Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/VJIKMS-08-2014-0052
Originality value – The donation and collection of knowledge were validated as components of the
interorganizational knowledge-sharing process, and the relationship between these processes and
organizational performance is mediated by the absorptive capacity of the organization.
Keywords Knowledge sharing, Organizational performance, Absorptive capacity
Paper type Research paper
In the era of the knowledge-based economy and society, intangible resources and skills
are crucial to the survival of organizations in dynamic environments (Wang et al., 2014).
Knowledge is considered one of the most important economic drivers, and is
continuously generated throughout the organization (Grant, 1996), providing a source of
sustainable competitive advantage, especially in a dynamic business environment
(Wang and Noe, 2010;Teece et al., 1997). However, knowledge is not conned to the
physical and legal limits of the organization, as it is also created and shared through
interaction with “customers, suppliers, partners and even competitors” (Zack, 2003,
p. 69). Thus, organizational knowledge is not only created within an organization but it
can also be acquired externally (Lee, 2001).
The ability to combine external and internal sources of knowledge is essential for
aligning processes, products and services aimed at creating value for the customer
(Martelo-Landroguez and Cegarra-Navarro, 2014). Opportunities and threats from the
external environment compel organizations to develop new products with innovative
technologies. Knowledge resulting from the value chain is essential for effective
innovation (Alguezaui and Filieri, 2010). To anticipate their competitors’ moves,
companies must acquire the necessary knowledge by developing their ability to change
(Argote and Ingram, 2000). Considered a critical factor for the coordination, allocation
and integration of collaborative resources among the members of a supply chain,
interorganizational knowledge sharing enables organizations to expand their resources,
add value to their products and services and detect opportunities and threats in a
competitive environment (Chen et al., 2014).
Knowledge sharing, which is dened as a process in which units exchange their
knowledge and jointly create new knowledge (Hooff and Ridder, 2004), is considered one
of the most important processes in knowledge management, as it can provide
organizations with the opportunity to enhance performance (Velmurugan et al., 2010)by
increasing the collective value of intangible assets (Davenport and Prusak, 1998).
Knowledge sharing, which occurs among individuals, groups and across organizations
(Lee, 2001), is essential for organizational success and is associated with various
outcomes, such as improved response time, productivity, learning and innovative
capacity (Karkoulian et al., 2010). Thus, this process can be mapped at both the
intra-organizational level, between individuals and units within an organization and the
interorganizational level, as in the case of sharing between a rm and the external
environment, for example, two or more companies (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995).
Interorganizational knowledge sharing enables mutual learning to take place
between organizations. This process is represented by learning among individuals from
different organizations and the conversion of individual learning into organizational
learning through the internal mechanisms of the organization (Chen et al., 2006).
Knowledge sharing can involve both explicit knowledge, such as business proposals,
reports, manuals, models and other encoded representations, and tacit knowledge, as in

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