Specific antecedents of employees’ knowledge sharing behavior

Publication Date14 May 2018
Date14 May 2018
AuthorSyeda Mehak Fatima Gillani,Salman Iqbal,Shumaila Akram,Mamoona Rasheed
SubjectInformation & knowledge management,Knowledge management,Knowledge management systems
Specic antecedents of
sharing behavior
Syeda Mehak Fatima Gillani,Salman Iqbal,
Shumaila Akram and Mamoona Rasheed
FOMS, University of Central Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan
Purpose The purpose of thisstudy is to examine the antecedents of specic human resource management
(HRM) practicesand trust on knowledge sharing (KS) behaviorof employees.
Design/methodology/approach In the rst phase, a questionnairesurvey was used to collect the data
from 350 randomly selected individuals working in banks. In the second phase, ten managerial-level
employeeswere interviewed to triangulate the ndings of the survey.
Findings The results revealed that employees viewed trust,recruitment and selection and performance
appraisals have apositive relationship with KS behavior. However,training and development and incentives
have no impacton KS.
Originality/value The value of this paper lies in the understanding gainedabout the interactive effects
of KS and HR practices using the structural equation modeling technique. This paper will help in
understanding the factors that can promote KS. This study will be helpful for employees, managers and
policymakers.This study may help in highlighting the signicantrole of HR practices.
Keywords Knowledge sharing, Incentives, Trust, Performance appraisal,
Recruitment and selection
Paper type Research paper
Unlike other material forms of assets or resources which an organization possesses, such as
capital, technology and infrastructure, knowledge has unique properties that cannot be
copied and neither does it depreciate; in fact, knowledge increases with the passage of time
(Alvessonand Karreman, 2001;Hooff andHuysman, 2009). Owing to theseunique properties,
since the pastdecade, individualsknowledge, skills andcapabilities are consideredas highly
contributing factors for organizational success (Liu and Liu, 2011). Furthermore, most
organizations desire to achieve competitive advantage through peoples knowledge because
the current knowledge economy has shifted from tangible resources to intangible resources
(Wong and Aspinwall, 2005). This shifthighlights the need for individualknowledge and to
make knowledge management (KM) vital in the organizations (Abbas et al.,2013). Having
this signicance,knowledge has become an essentialresource for organizationalsuccess, and
organizations continuously introduce mechanisms for leveraging employeespropensity to
exhibitknowledge sharing (KS) (Fong et al.,2011).
One of the key initiatives of KM is KS, and extant literature has discussed that
employeesknowledge becomes more valuable for organizations when it is shared
(Chinowsky and Carrillo, 2007;Law and Ngai, 2008). Although KS is a part of KM, it is
inuenced by multi-level factors, including organizational-, team- and individual-level
factors; these factors help to promote KS in an organization (Zheng, 2017). KM literature
Received6 May 2017
Revised3 August 2017
Accepted21 October 2017
VINEJournal of Information and
KnowledgeManagement Systems
Vol.48 No. 2, 2018
pp. 178-198
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/VJIKMS-05-2017-0023
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
particularly focuseson operational and technological aspects of KM; however, little research
is done to explore the individual behavioral aspects of KS (Gibbert and Krause, 2002).
Human resource management(HRM) practices are one of the key disciplines of management
that shape individualbehavior (Liu and Liu, 2011).
Along with the importance of HRM practices, there are several antecedents of KM; for
instance, trust can positively inuencean individuals KS in an organization. In the current
dynamic business environment, the ow of information and transfer of organizational
knowledge are considered as a competitive edge and employeestrust plays an important
role in KS (Scarborough and Carter, 2000). Trust facilitates the effective exchange of
knowledge and builds a healthyenvironment for KS. KS behavior refers to the frequency at
which employees share and spread their work-related know-how with their colleagues
(Chiang et al.,2011).
Furthermore, HRM practicesin organizations act as enablers of employees KS behavior.
Several studies focus on quantitative analysis (Cabrera and Cabrera, 2005;Chivu and
Popescu, 2008) to discuss the relationship between HRM practices and individual KS.
However, this study contributes by investigating HRM practices and KS with a mixed
method approach (qualitative and quantitative) to gain an in-depth understanding of the
Moreover, the concept of managing knowledge like managing other assets in
organizations is in its infancy.However, implications of KM initiatives, for instance, KS, can
help managers in managingemployees and their knowledge in organizations.
This study focuses on the sociological perspective of social exchange theory to
understand social dynamics of KS behavior of individuals. The previous research mostly
concentrated on the operational and technologicalaspects of KS (Gibbert and Krause, 2002);
however, this study primarily focuses on employeessocial behavior and attitude toward
Moreover, few research studies (Collins and Clark, 2003;Kim and Ko, 2014) have
discussed the behavioral aspect of employee trust as an enabler of KS in developed
countries, so there is a need for furtherinvestigation of this concern in developing countries
like Pakistan because of thedifferent culture and values. Therefore, this study is intended to
carry out an empirical research with the objective of investigating the antecedents
inuencing KS behavior in Pakistani banks. With help from qualitative and quantitative
research methods, this studyused the survey and interview methods of data collection, and
the results were tabulated and matched to extract the results, which are insightful and
interesting. The researchquestion of this study is:
RQ1. How HR practices and trust inuence employeesperception about their
knowledge sharing?
Therefore, the aim of this study is to investigate the crucial concept of KS by identifying
both trust and human resource (HR) practices as antecedents that inuence employees
perception about KS.
Literature review and hypotheses
Several researchers have suggested that HRM practices are perceived to be fair and
favorable to promote the positive exchange of knowledge among employees and rm
(Gulati and Khera, 2003;Cabrera and Cabrera, 2005). Individuals see HRM practices, for
instance, career development, training opportunities, reward and recognition and
performance appraisal, as investments in them and, therefore, they resp ond to the
organization in the form of displaying discretionary behaviors (Fong et al., 2011). These

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