Organizational structure is a factor that greatly influences the governance and the culture of an organization. The structure of an organization is further relevant to better understand and explain different phenomena in organizations (Janićijević, 2013). Organizational structure includes aspects as: the type of entity, organizational guidelines, power and reporting proceedings, ways of communication, and arrays of decision making (Donaldson, 1996). There are several types of organizational structures, but the governing structural forms are mechanistic and organic forms. Mechanistic structures are strict and traditional bureaucracies with a high level of centralization, systematic processes, regulations and a rigid flow of communication (Ambrose & Schminke, 2003). Under high levels of centralization, the decision-making power is generally concentrated at the highest levels of the organization. Therefore, centralization can create bottlenecks as members at lower levels in the hierarchy cannot make decisions, instead they must wait for the judgement of their supervisors (Kaufmann & Borry, 2019). Organic structures are the opposite of mechanistic and follow a more flexible and decentralized scheme (Ambrose & Schminke, 2003). According to Kaufmann and Borry (2019), several studies implies that a decentralized structure is favorable in increasing the level of employee- loyalty and motivation, as well as organizational performance. Decentralization also makes members of the organization feel they are part of the organizational culture to a greater extent.
Furthermore, a free flow of communication is encouraged at all levels (Zheng, Yang & McLean, 2010). However, Ambrose & Schminke (2003) stress the importance of understanding that no organization is perfectly mechanistic or organic, instead they tend to feature traits of both.
Organizational Culture and Knowledge Sharing
There are different types of resources, where knowledge is one of the key resources and a differentiator for organizations when creating and maintaining a competitive advantage. Even though the benefits of knowledge, mainly knowledge sharing are acknowledged, people are not always willing to share. The reason for this could have various answers but scholars have identified organizational culture as one of the primary explanations (Davenport & Prusak, 1998; McDermott & O´Dell, 2001; Al-Alawi et al., 2007; Suppiah & Sing Sandhu, 2011). Researchers have agreed upon culture as an abstraction but also that attitudes and behaviors are observable and can be studied. Identifying and understanding the underlying constitution of different organizational cultures can explain employees’ behavioral patterns that can affect their perceptions and the behaviors that affects knowledge sharing (Schein, 2004).
Both management processes and the ability of individuals to exchange cultural and personal beliefs are vital factors when considering the success of the implementation of KM practices, especially knowledge sharing (Torun, 2004). In addition, this type of exchange or rather communication between individuals is a crucial factor for the success of knowledge sharing, and it is heavily dependent on the opportunity’s employees have for open communication, faceto- face (Al-Alawi, 1997). The communication might flow horizontally or vertically within an organization, which may, or may not reinforce employees to share their knowledge. In fact, hierarchical organizations have a tendency of being more competitive, where individual advancements are seen as particularly important and as such, employees have incentives to keep individual knowledge from other employees (Riege, 2005; Wang & Noe, 2010). Active participation in knowledge sharing presumes that employees ask questions and respond to one another’s questions, often without passing it through their supervisors, and this is more likely to occur in a less hierarchical organization (Ardichvili, Maurer, Li, Wentling & Stuedemann, 2006). If an organization nurture a culture that facilitates informal ways of sharing knowledge (coffee breaks, seminars, open office-space, conferences etc.), this will cultivate trust among employees, which is a crucial factor concerning knowledge sharing (Wang & Noe, 2010).
Furthermore, when establishing a culture that foster knowledge sharing, it is important that practices, employees and the organizational structure support this culture. A common reason where organizations fail in knowledge sharing processes, is putting focus on adapting a culture fitting knowledge sharing instead of adjusting the knowledge sharing procedures to suit the culture. Hence, integrating knowledge sharing in employees daily work and communication is essential (Riege, 2005). Factors as practices, rules and guidelines influencing an organization’s norms and values is of great significance in knowledge sharing. Therefore, the processes linked to these factors should be integrated in the organization’s strategy to nurture and utilize the generation and sharing of organizational knowledge (Michailova & Husted, 2003). These processes require employees to share specific knowledge with particular employees after finished projects. Unless these standardized processes are implemented, there will be a negative outcome of knowledge sharing (Conley & Zheng, 2009).
Prior to conducting a study, researchers should consider and establish the relationship between theory and data to ensure adequate results (Easterby-Smith, Thorpe & Jackson, 2015). It is further argued that the fit between research philosophy and the undertaken research is fundamental in whether researchers will succeed to contribute to their field or not. The research philosophy is founded upon the beliefs of the researchers in terms of epistemology and ontology. Epistemology is defined as “a general set of assumptions about ways of inquiring into the nature of the world” and ontology as “philosophical assumptions about the nature of reality” (Easterby-Smith et al., 2015, p. 126). To simplify these definitions, epistemology is the perception of knowledge and ontology is the perception of reality (Alvesson & Sköldberg, 2009). The most appropriate epistemology and ontology is constantly debated among philosophers of natural and social sciences.
2. Literature Review
2.1 Knowledge .
2.2 Knowledge Management
2.3 Knowledge Sharing
2.4 Knowledge Intensive Organizations
2.5 Organizational Culture
2.6 Organizational Culture and Knowledge Sharing
2.7 Summary of Theoretical Framework
2.8 Literature Pictographic .
3.1 Research Philosophy
3.2 Research Design
3.3 Research Approach .
3.4 Literature Review
3.6 Data Collection .
3.7 Data analysis
3.8 Quality Assuranc
4. Empirical Findings
4.1 Background of the organization
4.2 Organizational Culture at the Firm
4.3 Cultural Influences
5.2 Model of Influences
6. Conclusion & Implications
6.3 Limitations & Future Studies
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In the era of a knowledgebased economy A case study of knowledge sharing and how it is affected by organizational culture