the developmentof common beliefs and opinions among theemployees (Nonaka, 1994) and it
can promote effective relationships as well as employee satisfaction and attitudes that affect
OC. According to Cheng and Ho (2001), motivational factors like OC affect how employees
apply what they have learned. Therefore, OC is closely linked to HRD.
This study contributes to the body of knowledge on knowledge management (KM) and HRD
by examining Portuguese small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and offering an original
model that involves trust, KS and OC. The model follows the organizational k nowledge creation
theory (Nonaka, 1994; Nonaka and Konno, 1998) that specifically addresses tacit knowledge as
being rooted in action, commitment and context (Polanyi, 1962). The process of knowledge
creation is a self-transcending, continuous process (Yang et al., 2010), an enduring dialogue
between tacit and explicit knowledge (Nonaka, 1994). Knowledge is created through permanent
knowledge conversion between tacit and explicit forms, and for that to happen it needs to be
shared (Nonaka, 1994; Curado and Bontis, 2011). In order to start the process of knowledge
creation, there must be mutual trust among individuals (Nonaka, 1994).
KS is at the heart of the socialization, externalization, combination and internalization
(SECI) model,often called as the spiralmodel in the knowledge creationtheory. Socializationis
the process of creating tacit knowledge through shared experience without using language.
Externalization regards the conversion of tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge. For
example, a metaphor can be used to share knowledge in the externalization process.
Combination involves sharing and combining explicit knowledge that leads to new
knowledge.Internalization is the conversionof explicit knowledge into tacit knowledge,which
is similar to theKS phenomenon typically associated with learning(Nonaka, 1994). Along the
endless movement in the spiral, there is a continuous transformation of tacit knowledge into
explicit knowledge and then back to tacit again.
This study differs from previous works in two ways: first, it explores the mediating role of
KS by emphasizing the contribution of KM (Curado and Bontis, 2006) to HRD; and second, it
offers evidence from Portuguese SMEs. Typically, SMEs have less formal HRD than large
corporations, consequently, informal and idiosyncratic HRD prevails in SMEs (Marlow et al.,
2010; Saridakis et al., 2013; Nolan and Garavan, 2016). Yet, the literature has given insufficient
attention to the social nature of HRD in SMEs (Nolan and Garavan, 2016), and that is why
addressing the contribution of trust and KS to the OC in SMEs seems so relevant.
Despite the recognizable link between issues from organizational culture, HRD and KM,
there are few empirical studies that simultaneously address these topics. Since knowledge is
a powerful resource it may not be simple to get people to share their knowledge. Considering
KM is the basis for HRD (Werner, 2014), it is critical for SMEs (Petrakis and Kostis, 2015),
and since there are few empirical studies that simultaneously address both topics, there is a
gap we propose to fill in. The scope of this study is to contribute to close such breach in the
literature and offer evidence on the relationship between KM and HRD.
Literature review and hypotheses
OC is a widely studied topic, and most definitions describe a link between the employee and
the organization.According to Allen and Meyer(1990), OC is “a psychologic al state that binds
an employee to the organiz ation”that affects his or her decision to continue in the same
organization. Following the “Three-Component Model of organizational commitment”
(Allen and Meyer, 1990; Meyer et al., 1993) OC gathers three components: affective,
continuanceand normative. Affective organizational commitment(AOC) concerns employees’
emotional attachment and identification with organizational values. Employees with a strong
AOC have a strong emotional attachment to the organization and are willing to focus on
helping the organization achieve its goals. Continuance commitment (COC) refers to the
employees’identification of the costs involved in leaving the organization. Thus, employees