Organizational Culture, Social Capital, and Knowledge Management: An Integrated Model

Organizational Culture, Social Capital, and Knowledge Management: An Integrated Model

Leila Afshari (La Trobe University, Australia), Ali Hadian Nasab (La Trobe University, Australia), and Geoff Dickson (La Trobe University, Australia)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/IJKM.2020040104
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This study examined the mediating role of social capital on the relationship between organizational culture and knowledge management. Data were obtained from bank employees in Iran. After a screening process, the data from a sample of 127 employees was used to test the mediation model using structural equation modeling (SEM). The results indicated that organizational culture had a significant positive effect on knowledge management and social capital. Furthermore, social capital had a significant positive effect on knowledge management confirming the mediating role of social capital. The current research contributes to the knowledge management literature by exploring a plausible explanation for the strong relationships between organizational culture and knowledge management. This study encourages practitioners to develop social capital and mutual trust among employees to promote effective knowledge management practices.
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The increasing complexity of the business environment underpins recent interest in knowledge management and its ability to enhance organizational competitiveness. Knowledge management is an important management practice to maintain a competitive advantage and to improve organizational performance (Mansouri, Singh, & Khan, 2018). Ineffective knowledge management, on the other hand, reduces organizational learning and, consequently the efficiency of organizational processes (Oliva, Couto, Santos, & Bresciani, 2018). Employees are the most vital source of new knowledge in organizations (Rechberg & Syed, 2014). Knowledge management enables organizations to expand their capabilities by taking advantage of their employee’s intelligence and skills (Rana & Goel, 2017). Social capital, which refers to the social connections, norms of reciprocity and reliability, is key to the effective knowledge management within organizations (Chuang, Chen, & Lin, 2016; Eadie & Su, 2018). This is because social capital facilitates the coordination and cooperation between employees necessary for effective knowledge management (Davel, Du Toit, & Mearns, 2017). Social capital in organizations is rooted in organizational culture. Organizational culture (i.e., the shared patterns of norms and assumptions) sets the framework for favorable behavior among members by boosting members’ commitment to the shared values (Kim & Chang, 2019).

Organizational culture is key to developing interpersonal interactions that underpin high quality knowledge management outcomes (Lee & Choi, 2003; Werner & Dickson, 2018). Although prior research links superior knowledge management practices to enhanced organizational performance, little is known about the specific organizational factors that contribute to knowledge management. This underpins the claim that researchers are yet to clearly articulate the organizational facilitators of knowledge management (Nold III, 2012) However, despite recognition that organizational culture leverages both knowledge management (Prasetyo, 2017) and social capital (Ramezan, 2016), knowledge management studies are yet to examine the simultaneous role of organizational culture and social capital in facilitating knowledge management. In response to these research gaps, the current study investigates the relationship between organizational culture and knowledge management and the mediating role of social capital. This study provides a more nuanced understanding of the relationships between and amongst organizational culture, social capital and knowledge management.

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