Trust as an Aspect of Organisational Culture: Its Effects on Knowledge Sharing in Virtual Communities

Trust as an Aspect of Organisational Culture: Its Effects on Knowledge Sharing in Virtual Communities

Abel Usoro (University of the West of Scotland, UK) and Imran U. Khan (University of the West of Scotland, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/jhcitp.2011010101
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Abstract

Knowledge sharing is of much interest to both practitioners and researchers because of its potential to quicken learning, enhance innovation, reduce costs, and place organisations on a competitive edge. A principal tool for knowledge sharing has been identified by researchers to be virtual communities in which research collaboration and other knowledge sharing activities easily take place. Some key factors examined in literature as influencing knowledge sharing are technological, economic, and cultural. This paper concentrates on organisation culture with specific focus on trust as its component. While trust has been researched in other contexts, it has not been researched as an organisational cultural component that could affect knowledge sharing in virtual communities. This gap in knowledge is what this paper aims to fill. A conceptual framework is developed to express the relationship between trust components and knowledge sharing in virtual communities. The framework will be verified in future empirical research; however, possible implications of the research to research and practice are presented.
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Research Problem

This research is part of a large scale study on the ‘effects of organisational culture on knowledge sharing in virtual communities’. The current paper focuses only on trust factor of organisational culture. To determine the effect of trust on knowledge sharing, the level of trust in an organisation has to be first established and this is investigated in this paper.

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