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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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Antecedents of organizational knowledge sharing: a meta-analysis and critique

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Title:Antecedents of organizational knowledge sharing: a meta-analysis and critique
Author(s):Candace L. Witherspoon, (Assistant Professor in the Department of Accounting and Finance, Valdosta State University, Valdosta, Georgia, USA), Jason Bergner, (Assistant Professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada, USA), Cam Cockrell, (Assistant Professor in the Department of Accounting, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, USA), Dan N. Stone, (Gatton Endowed Chair, Von Allmen School of Accountancy, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA)
Citation:Candace L. Witherspoon, Jason Bergner, Cam Cockrell, Dan N. Stone, (2013) "Antecedents of organizational knowledge sharing: a meta-analysis and critique", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 17 Iss: 2, pp.250 - 277
Keywords:Behaviour, Intention, Knowledge management, Knowledge sharing, Meta-analysis, Organizational behaviour
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/13673271311315204 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Acknowledgements:Received 10 September 2012. Revised 30 November 2012. 5 December 2012. Accepted 6 December 2012.

PurposeKnowledge is the most important component of sustainable organizational growth and economic performance. This meta-analysis aims to summarize the determinants of individuals' knowledge sharing (KS) intentions and behaviors in organizations.

Design/methodology/approachThe authors organize the knowledge sharing antecedents investigated in 46 studies (n˜10,487, median n=172) into three categories, i.e. knowledge sharer intention and attitude (four variables); rewards for KS (three variables); and organizational culture (nine variables).

FindingsVariables in all three antecedent categories positively contribute to KS intentions and behaviors; high between-study variability exists, and the fail-safe n statistic suggests the observed effects are robust against a “file drawer” (missing study) bias. Moderator results suggest that motivating KS is easier in collectivist, as opposed to individualist, cultures.

Research limitations/implicationsIn most of the studies included in this meta-analysis, participants volunteered to share knowledge with researchers. Hence, an important threat to validity in the existing research is a potential “cooperation bias” in which participants likely overestimate their willingness to share knowledge. Future KS research should investigate the dark underbelly of knowledge activities in organizations, including investigations of knowledge hoarding, withholding of knowledge to gain personal advantage, and “contributing” worthless information to gain (through gaming) personal payoffs.

Originality/valueThe meta-analysis results herein contribute to the KS literature by identifying the determinants of KS, and an important potential limitation of much existing KS research.

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