Team and Individual Interactions With Reciprocity in Individual Knowledge Sharing

Team and Individual Interactions With Reciprocity in Individual Knowledge Sharing

Megan Lee Endres (Eastern Michigan University, USA) and Sanjib Chowdhury (Eastern Michigan University, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5427-1.ch007

Abstract

The study investigated the effects of expected reciprocity on knowledge sharing, as moderated by team and individual variables. Data (n = 84) were collected in an experimental study from undergraduate business student participants. The effects of expected reciprocity on knowledge sharing depend on the levels of individual competence, positive team attitudes, functional diversity, and demographic diversity. Implications include that the effectiveness of reciprocity in knowledge sharing depends on several factors relating to the team and individual. Encouraging reciprocity may have positive effects, but these can be overridden by poor team attitudes, low ability perceptions, and team diversity. Future research suggestions are offered.
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Review Of Relevant Literature

Knowledge sharing is defined as occurring “when an individual is willing to assist as well as to learn from others in the development of new competencies” (Yang, 2007, p. 83). Reciprocity is implied in the definition as necessary – a give-and-take of knowledge. Researchers typically rely on social exchange theory (Coyle-Shapiro & Conway, 2005), social capital theory (Nahapiet & Ghoshal, 1998), and theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1985) in framing the effects of reciprocity on knowledge sharing. From these theoretical bases, the expectation of reciprocity increases motivation to share knowledge. In recent years, reciprocity has received increasing attention in the literature, with the use of sophisticated modeling techniques and attention to moderators.

The relationship between reciprocity and knowledge sharing is most often studied solely as a direct effect on outcomes, typically including attitudes toward sharing, satisfaction with sharing, intention to share, and actual sharing behaviors. Most studies found a positive relationship between reciprocity and knowledge sharing outcomes (e.g., Lin, Lee, & Wang, 2009; Tamjidyamcholo, Baba, Tamjid, & Gholipour, 2013), while a few found nonsignificant (e.g., Chen & Hung, 2010; Hung et al., 2011) or negative results (e.g., Chen & Hung, 2010; Wasko & Faraj, 2005). Knowledge sharing reciprocity studies are primarily cross-sectional surveys of either within-organizational groups (e.g., Akhavan & Hosseini, 2016) or online communities (e.g., Tamjidyamcholo et al., 2013). Few are experimental studies (e.g., DiGangi et al., 2012; Hung et al., 2011) or simulations (e.g., Caimo & Lomi, 2015).

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