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Journal cover: Journal of Knowledge Management

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Online from: 1997

Subject Area: Information and Knowledge Management

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Social networks and knowledge sharing in organizations: a case study

Document Information:
Title:Social networks and knowledge sharing in organizations: a case study
Author(s):Laila Naif Marouf, (Kuwait University, Kuwait.)
Citation:Laila Naif Marouf, (2007) "Social networks and knowledge sharing in organizations: a case study", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 11 Iss: 6, pp.110 - 125
Keywords:Channel relationships, Knowledge management, Knowledge sharing, Social networks
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/13673270710832208 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to determine the association between the strength of different types of ties with the sharing of different kinds of knowledge.

Design/methodology/approachIn this paper the association of ties with the sharing of different types of knowledge was measured by a specifically created and developed web survey that was made available to 22 units in the subject organization. Multiple Regression Quadratic Assignment Procedure (MRQAP) was used to examine the resulting data in order to address the following questions: first, is there a significant association between strength of business ties and the sharing of public knowledge? Second, is there a significant association between strength of social ties and the sharing of private knowledge?

FindingsFindings in this paper show that the strength of business relationships rather than the strength of social relationships contributed most significantly to the sharing of public and private knowledge in this organization. Specifically, the frequency of business interactions predicted the sharing of public non-codified knowledge, while the closeness of business relationships predicted the sharing of private non-codified knowledge and the sharing of public codified knowledge. Unexpectedly, neither business nor social ties predicted the sharing of private codified knowledge.

Research limitations/implicationsThe paper shows that one organization belonging to a certain type of business was studied, and these results might be more relevant in the setting of similar business organizations that have similarities in their contexts and profiles with this organization.

Practical implicationsThe results in this paper may assist organizations in rethinking the ways of approaching certain types of knowledge sharing in their strategic and infrastructural decisions and their application. Organizations might invest in promoting inter-unit exchanges and in creating meaningful social nets for more innovative products and better performance.

Originality/valueThis paper makes a distinct contribution to the available body of research on how social networks in organizations operate in sharing knowledge. The paper provides answers to a number of research questions that have not been addressed thus far in the literature; this study also provides fresh insights into the investigation of patterns of association and prediction.

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