Formal knowledge sharing in medium-to-large organizations: Constraints, enablers and alignment

  • Steve Goodwin

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


This research considers one of the most important of resources - knowledge. There is a widespread view that knowledge is important to organizations and this has led to the study of knowledge management. There are a plethora of definitions of knowledge and knowledge management, but knowledge sharing is recognised as being of fundamental importance. The literature shows the success of knowledge sharing is not only affected by factors including culture, management, technology, processes and structure but, more importantly, it is affected by how these factors interact and fit together. However there is little literature on alignment or strategic fit in knowledge sharing. This research adds to the literature by investigating the enablers and constraints of knowledge sharing and the possible effects of alignment. An interpretive approach using case studies triangulated with a survey is adopted, involving semi-structured interviews with 23 people across five organizations. The findings suggest that significant top management support and a strategy for knowledge sharing are necessary precursors of effective knowledge sharing. In the organizations which lacked this, there is little to encourage people to share and almost none of these organizations measured well on any aspect of knowledge sharing. There are widely varying uses of technology, but many are aimed at sharing data or information. Fewer uses of technology are geared to enabling or encouraging the communication necessary for knowledge sharing. The lack of senior management support may prevent any significant internal or external alignment so a possible approach to strategic fit for knowledge sharing is that strategy has to come first (and the management support that goes with it) and that this should lead to the embedding of the necessary behaviours for knowledge sharing. Only after this are processes and technology able to support knowledge sharing.
Date of Award1 Apr 2009
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorRichard Vidgen (Supervisor) & Philip Powell (Supervisor)


  • knowledge sharing
  • knowledge management

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