University of Twente Student Theses


Knowledge-Sharing Intention in and outside an Enterprise Social Network: A study of IT-professionals in a health-tech organization

Parren, D.R.F. (2016) Knowledge-Sharing Intention in and outside an Enterprise Social Network: A study of IT-professionals in a health-tech organization.

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Abstract:Knowledge sharing is widely regarded as a vital resource for innovation and economic success. Organisations have increasingly invested in ways to improve and facilitate knowledge sharing in the workplace and in knowledge management systems, such as an enterprise social network (ESN). A significant challenge in facilitating knowledge sharing is knowing what motivates an individual to share in the workplace and in an ESN, and how to create a favourable knowledge-sharing climate for these environments. In other words, not much is known about how knowledge-sharing intention (KSI) is formed across the aforementioned contexts. This study seeks to provide a deeper understanding of the formation of KSI, both inside and outside an ESN, by investigating the factors that likely influence it in both contexts. To do this, Ajzen’s (1991) theory of planned behaviour (TPB) is used. The TPB is a social psychological model that aims to investigate the relationship between specific variables and an individual’s intention to engage in a behaviour (Ajzen, 1991). The factors used to examine the relationship with KSI are divided into three different domains: attitudinal, normative, and control beliefs. This research consists of a quantitative study, in which 153 information technology (IT) professionals of a health-tech company were surveyed, and a qualitative study (focus group interview), in which five professionals were interviewed. The first study was conducted to obtain insight into the main influencing belief factors that predict KSI. The second study consisted of a focus group interview whose goal was to examine how belief factors influence employee KSI in practice, and how belief factors could be facilitated to enhance knowledge sharing. The results of the quantitative study revealed that perceived usefulness, superior influence, and perceived behavioural control (PBC) predict KSI outside an ESN; and perceived usefulness, perceived compatibility, and PBC predict KSI inside an ESN context. Although more research is needed to confirm these results in other departments, organisations, and cultural contexts, they indicate that to improve knowledge sharing, a clear knowledge-sharing culture must be developed. To achieve this, managerial support is needed to initiate, facilitate, and encourage knowledge-sharing activities. The qualitative study confirms this notion because members expressed a need for additional time resources and managerial support to share knowledge. This study aims to fill a gap in the existing literature by investigating the belief factors that influence KSI both inside and outside an ESN context. The combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods provides an in-depth view on how to support and improve KS processes. Therefore, organisations should adapt their strategies to the belief factors that influence their employees’ intention to share knowledge.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:70 social sciences in general
Programme:Educational Science and Technology MSc (60023)
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