Knowledge management (KM) is critical for organizations to capitalize on organizational knowledge and gain competitive advantage. Encouraging knowledge-sharing is the cornerstone of a successful KM system. However, the effectiveness of different strategies for knowledge-sharing may be contingent on different firm characteristics, which often affect how individual employees interact. The objective of this research is to add to the emerging literature of KM by deriving a contingency view of how to effectively promote knowledge-sharing. Since the sharing of knowledge closely relates to the competitive and cooperative relationships between employees, we adopted the game theory for modelling. This study consists of two parts. In Part I of this paper, we identify critical incentives and disincentives for knowledge-sharing between individuals as well as firm contextual variables that may affect these incentives through the case study method and literature review. These results add to our existing knowledge about knowledge-sharing behaviours between individuals and highlight the impact of firm size and task repetitiveness on these behaviours. In the subsequent paper, Part II, these results are used to construct a game theory model and derive contingent strategies to encourage knowledge-sharing.
Levitt, R., Wang, C., Ho, P., and Javernick-Will, A. (2012). “Encouraging Knowledge Sharing in Engineering Firms- Part I: Incentives, Disincentives, and the Impacts of Firm Context.” Engineering Project Organization Journal. 2 (4), 231-239. doi: 10.1080/21573727.2012.683412