Knowledge management initiatives have proliferated in recent years because of the desire to have employees share their knowledge throughout the organization. However, in practice, many of these initiatives fail to achieve their initial goals. Because knowledge fundamentally resides with people, knowledge management research and initiatives must move from a focus on macrolevel variables at the organizational level to include an understanding of microlevel variables at the individual level of why employees engage in these knowledge management initiatives. This research aims to understand participation in organizational knowledge sharing by identifying and exploring the reasons why employees share their knowledge. This is done through qualitative case studies with 48 employees in 13 multinational engineering, construction, and real estate development firms. Using an embedded unit of analysis of knowledge sharing motivations of employees, a qualitative analysis revealed four primary factors related to knowledge sharing: resources, intrinsic motivations, global incentives, and social motivations. The overwhelming majority of responses pertained to social motivations, including reciprocity, conformity to corporate culture, mimicking the behavior of leaders, peer recognition, honoring knowledge sharing commitments, and perceptions of the value of organizational knowledge. These results add to existing literature by identifying microlevel variables of employees’ motivations for knowledge sharing and moving from a focus on barriers to knowledge sharing to a focus on the factors that facilitate knowledge sharing. The results also suggest organizational strategies that may help to address employee motivations and increase knowledge sharing within organizations.
Javernick-Will, A. (2012). “Motivating Knowledge Sharing in Engineering and Construction Organizations: The Power of Social Motivations.” Journal of Management in Engineering. 28 (2), 193-202. doi: 10.1061/(ASCE)ME.1943-5479.0000076