Modelling Knowledge Sharing Behavior With Behavioral Intention and Interpersonal Trust: The Role of Affective Commitment

Modelling Knowledge Sharing Behavior With Behavioral Intention and Interpersonal Trust: The Role of Affective Commitment

Toshali Dey, Susmita Mukhopadhyay
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2189-2.ch007
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With the growing determination to sustain in the competitive market, organizations are focusing more on developing their knowledge management system. The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of knowledge sharing intentions (KSI) and affective trust (AT) on knowledge sharing (KS) behavior of employees. Additionally, the mediating influence of affective commitment (AC) of the employees in this relationship is also studied. This study uses data from a sample of 246 managers in Indian private sector firms and employs a structural equation modelling approach to test the proposed hypotheses. The findings of this study show that contrary to the results of prior research, KSI does not affect KS behavior directly. Rather, it acts indirectly through AC, which is necessary for increasing employees' loyalty and willingness to share their knowledge. Moreover, the results indicated that AT has an indirect influence on employees' KS behavior via KSI. Implications and limitations and future scope of the study have also been discussed.
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The organizations need to sustain in today’s rapidly changing environment, for which knowledge is considered to be the most important intangible resource and crucial element for sustenance (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995; Perez and Cruz, 2015; Reychav and Weisberg, 2010). Sharing of knowledge within organizations is a highly desirable behaviour for innovation and competitive advantage of the organization (Tan and Wong, 2015; Mills and Smith, 2011; Xu and Quaddus, 2012)as well as for creating new knowledge, acquiring and storing it for future (Pangil and Nasurdin, 2019). Therefore, for this purpose firms strategically implement management practices to overcome barriers in managing organizational knowledge (Bloice and Burnett, 2016). This enables their workers to effectively share knowledge with a positive organizational behaviour (Wu and Lee, 2017), which leads to innovation (Schwaer et al., 2012) and better organizational performance. However, the process of knowledge sharing (KS) is not spontaneous and depends critically on the willingness of individuals’ to share their knowledge and on internal and external factors which motivate or restrict knowledge transfer (Gagné, 2009; Probodha and Vasanthapriyan, 2019). Determining the influencers which promote positive behaviour of employees towards KS (Bhatt, 2002; Chowdhury, 2005) and affect the strategies to be followed to improve the willingness of their employees towards KS (Stenius et al., 2016) are identified as important areas of research in knowledge management.

Despite the organizations encouraging knowledge transfer, employees are reluctant in sharing their work-related knowledge with their colleagues (Cabrera and Cabrera, 2005; Hsu et al., 2007). The process of knowledge sharing does not occur on its own (Huang et al., 2013), it has to be triggered through extrinsic (e.g. organizational structure, organizational culture) (Chang and Lin, 2015) or intrinsic (e.g. psychological perspectives) factors (Tan and Wong, 2015). The complexity in knowledge management system has to be dealt with more focus on individuals and their relationship with each other (Reychav and Weisberg, 2010; Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995).

Therefore, it is crucial to understand the roles of commitment and trust, which are among the most researched work-related attitudes in favouring KS among employees. This study attempts to examine the influence of behavioural intentions, interpersonal trust and affective commitment on knowledge sharing behaviour of employees. Prior studies in the area of Knowledge Management (KM) have investigated the individual relationship of these variables with KS behaviour, but studies on the combined effect on employees’ behaviour is still scanty. While recent literature has bridged psychological factors (Ajzen, 1991; Bock et al., 2005; Shanshan, 2013; So and Bolloju, 2005), commitment (Chennamaneni et al., 2012; Tan and Wong, 2015; Perez and Cruz, 2015; Tohidinia and Mosakhani, 2010) and trust (Bousari and Hassanzadeh, 2012; Casimir et al., 2012; Sabbir Rahman and Hussain, 2014; Rutten et al., 2016) with KM, still there is a gap in understanding whether commitment for organization affects employees’ relationships or their attitude towards KS (Kwok and Gao, 2005). Moreover, examining the effect of commitment in intention-behaviour relationship (Ajzen et al., 2009) is unique in the field of KM.

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