CEC Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems (DISS)

Department

College of Engineering and Computing

Advisor

Timothy J. Ellis

Committee Member

James Parrish

Committee Member

Marci Zaharee

Abstract

While several U. S. firms have invested in Knowledge Management (KM) tools and software, it has become apparent that investments must be made in additional facets of KM, such as knowledge sharing (KS), thought by many researchers to be the most important component of KM. Of the two types of KS, explicit and tacit, the sharing of tacit knowledge has been shown to contribute the most to an organization’s performance. However, since tacit knowledge is difficult to both convey and acquire, this unshared tacit knowledge may ultimately harm an organization when, without the appropriate knowledge, individuals cannot effectively perform their professional responsibility.

Although research has been conducted on the motivators that contribute to the sharing of tacit knowledge, the research has been conflicting. These inconsistencies could conceivably stem from measuring KS as a single factor rather than as separate components. The purpose of this study was two-fold, first to discover what motivators contributed to the sharing of tacit knowledge and second, to discover whether the sharing of knowledge when solicited differed from the sharing of knowledge when not solicited. Utilizing the Theory of Reasoned Action and Self-determination Theory as well as measuring the transfer of knowledge through externalization, as expressed by the SECI model, three research questions and 14 different hypotheses contributed to a survey instrument resulting in 370 usable survey responses.

Employing confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling, analysis of the data confirmed that a significant difference existed between the solicited and unsolicited sharing of tacit knowledge. This study found that measures for external, integrated, and intrinsic motivation differed among the two situational constructs of knowledge sharing. In addition, the study confirmed that a difference occurred between motivators and the two types of sharing when the sharing was mediated by a favorable attitude toward sharing.