CCE Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

College of Engineering and Computing

Advisor

Martha M. Snyder

Committee Member

Yair Levy

Committee Member

Steven R. Terrell

Abstract

The Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) in Saudi Arabia aims to move toward a knowledge-based economy and many knowledge management (KM) and knowledge sharing (KS) initiatives have been taken to accelerate the achievement of this goal. Despite the substantial body of research into KS in the business environment, research that investigates factors that promote KS practices among academics in higher education institutions (HEIs) is generally limited, but particularly in Saudi Arabia. To bridge this gap, the goal was to explore what individual and organizational factors contribute to a person’s willingness to share knowledge and develop a profile of the current knowledge sharing culture of academics within HEIs in Saudi Arabia.

An online survey was designed based on extant literature and used to collect both quantitative and qualitative data on organizational factors (i.e. leadership, organizational structure, information technology platform, and organizational culture) and individual factors (i.e., willingness to share knowledge, attitude toward KS, expected rewards and associations, expected contribution, and trust) that influence the success of KS in HEIs. A total of 140 completed surveys were analyzed. The quantitative data were analyzed through validity, reliability, descriptive, and multivariate regression analyses. A qualitative coding process was used to analyze the open-ended questions. Quantitative data analysis resulted in a significant main effect for factors of trust, leadership, and attitude toward KS on the person’s willingness to share knowledge. Results for the factors of expected rewards and associations, expected contribution, organizational structure, information technology platform, and organizational culture were not significant. Qualitative analysis revealed that Saudi academics generally have a positive attitude toward knowledge sharing and prefer sharing knowledge face-to-face. Knowledge sharing is mainly related to teaching strategies followed by research. Trust and time are key factors in their willingness to share, as well as, support from their institutions through effective information systems and facilitation of open communication and collaboration. While most academics are intrinsically motivated to share knowledge, some expect extrinsic rewards and recognition.

Findings will assist Saudi HEIs to design systems necessary to become knowledge-based institutions, help HEI management plan and apply KS practices, and identify future research opportunities to advance KS in HEIs.

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