Pursuing Innovation Through Knowledge Sharing: Brazil and Portugal

Pursuing Innovation Through Knowledge Sharing: Brazil and Portugal

Eduardo Kunzel Teixeira, Mirian Oliveira, Carla Maria Marques Curado
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/IJKM.2019010105
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The present study investigates the relationship between knowledge sharing (knowledge donation and knowledge collection dimensions) with organizational innovation (Administrative and technological innovation forms) in Brazilian and Portuguese organizations. The hypotheses were tested using the partial least squares (PLS) approach. Knowledge donation was shown to be positively related with administrative innovation among Portuguese companies, but not among Brazilian companies. Knowledge donation was shown to be positively related with technical innovation among both Brazilian and Portuguese companies. Knowledge collection was shown to have no relationship with either of the two types of innovation in the two investigated countries. As a practical implication, companies that work in multiple locations need to customize their sharing processes considering differences in national culture. Other studies have made use of the two-dimensional concept of knowledge sharing, but view its relationship with a one-dimensional construct of innovation and without comparing contexts.
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Knowledge is recognized as an important resource (Bloodgood, 2015; Tohidinia & Mosakhani, 2010) that is capable of enhancing competitiveness and fomenting innovation in organizations (Cabrera & Cabrera, 2002; Gloet & Samson, 2016). While various knowledge management strategies can be adopted (Hansen, Nohria, & Tierney, 1999), in general, companies need to foster some form of knowledge sharing (KS) to create environments which accelerate the creation and use of knowledge (Cabrera & Cabrera, 2002; Gonzalez, 2016; Newman & Newman, 2015).

KS is important because knowledge is lodged in the minds of individuals, which means the decision to share it is ultimately made by the individual (Bartol & Srivastava, 2002). In addition to the ability and willingness of individuals, the intention and the act of sharing knowledge may be constrained by social circumstances where the maximum individual benefit comes at the expense of collective benefits (Cabrera & Cabrera, 2002).

Individuals practice KS when they “share information, ideas, suggestions and knowledge that is relevant to the organization among themselves” (Bartol & Srivastava, 2002, p. 65). KS behavior can be represented by two distinct types of action: knowledge donation and knowledge collection (Tohidinia & Mosakhani, 2010; Vries, Hooff, & Ridder, 2006). Knowledge donation (KD) refers to the behavior of an individual committed to communicate their knowledge to others (Hooff & Hendrix, 2004). Knowledge collection (KC) refers to the act of consulting knowledge held by other members of the company (Hooff & Hendrix, 2004).

Most studies have investigated knowledge sharing as an aggregate and unidirectional construct, without specifying the behavior of the agents involved in sharing knowledge (Jain, Sandhu, & Goh, 2015). By applying a two-dimensional concept (donation and collection) it is possible to refine the understanding of how sharing is related to its antecedents and consequences (Jain et al., 2015). Knowledge donation and collection have been examined in earlier studies. Research has investigated the antecedents of KS, such as perceived self-efficacy (Tohidinia & Mosakhani, 2010), motivation (M.-C. Huang, Chiu, & Lu, 2013), trust (Casimir, Lee, & Loon, 2012) and organizational culture (Cavaliere & Lombardi, 2015), as well as the consequences of sharing, such as skills development (Akhavan & Mahdi Hosseini, 2016; Iqbal, Toulson, & Tweed, 2015; Lin, 2007) and enhanced performance (Terry Kim, Lee, Paek, & Lee, 2013).

Few studies have attempted to determine the relationship of donation and collection with innovation. The work of Hussein et al. (2016) investigates the relationship between the donation and collection of knowledge and the ability to innovate in law enforcement agencies in the United Arab Emirates. Yeşil and Hırlak (2013) addressed the relationship of donation and collection with innovative behavior among university staff in Turkey. Akhavan and Mahdi Hosseini (2016) investigated the knowledge donation and collection in relation to innovative ability within teams at various Iranian companies. All these studies examine knowledge donation and collection in relation to a single aspect of innovation, and in only one context.

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