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Knowledge sharing in new organizational entities: The impact of hierarchy, organizational context, micro-politics and suspicion

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Title:Knowledge sharing in new organizational entities: The impact of hierarchy, organizational context, micro-politics and suspicion
Author(s):Martin Friesl (Centre for Strategic Management, Lancaster University Management School, Lancaster, UK), Sonja A. Sackmann (Department of Economics, Management and Organization Sciences, Research Center for Strategy, Leadership, Corporate Culture and HRM, Institute for Developing Viable Organizations, University Bw Munich, Neubiberg, Germany), Sebastian Kremser (German Federal Armed Forces, Bornheim, Germany)
Citation:Martin Friesl, Sonja A. Sackmann, Sebastian Kremser, "Knowledge sharing in new organizational entities: The impact of hierarchy, organizational context, micro-politics and suspicion", Emerald 18, (2011)
Keywords:Armed forces, Business formation, Germany, Knowledge sharing, Organizational culture
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/13527601111104304 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Purpose – The purpose of this study is to investigate the dynamics involved in knowledge sharing in knowledge intensive heterogeneous teams of the German Federal Armed Forces with a specific focus on new organizational entities.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on qualitative research. The data were gathered through interviews with members of so-called concept development and experimentation (CD&E) projects. These projects constitute a novelty for the whole organization and a cultural challenge for effective knowledge sharing, through its cross-disciplinary, cross-functional and cross-hierarchical design. Hence, these projects are a good venue to study cultural dynamics in new organizational entities.

Findings – The analysis reveals that despite the structural separation of the new organizational entity, cultural imprint and cultural re-import from the existing organization affected knowledge sharing. More specifically, four major influencing factors are identified in regard to knowledge sharing within the CD&E project team and between the team and the line organization; hierarchy, organizational context, micro-politics and suspicion. The data suggest that these factors are precipitated by cultural imprint of the line organization.

Research limitations/implications – The qualitative research design is one limitation rendering only descriptions and propositions that need further testing in other settings. Another one is the research venue which allows only limited access for data collection.

Practical implications – The paper shows that the dynamics in CD&E projects require culturally sensitive project management, starting in the planning phase of the project.

Originality/value – The study investigates knowledge sharing in new organizational entities in knowledge intensive teams of a military organization. Both aspects, new organizational entities and non-private organizations, have been neglected in research on knowledge sharing.

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