Understanding Organizational Culture for Effective Knowledge Sharing Behaviors in the Workplace

By Hanan Abdulla Al Mehairi and Norhayati Zakaria.

Published by Organizational Cultures: An International Journal

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Many organizations put knowledge management (KM) systems into place but fail to use these systems effectively. A common mistake is to ignore common elements that contribute to the success of knowledge sharing, such as organizational culture. Another reason is that organizations do not pay attention to one of the main component of KM which is knowledge sharing. Thus, the objective of this conceptual paper is to explore the impact of organizational culture on knowledge sharing behavior. This paper examines several different cultural dimensions that were initially introduced by Geert Hofstede's et al., (1990). Years later, in 2010, Hofstede collaborated with an economist--Bob Waisfisz to further explore organizational cultural dimensions in which we find the dimensions can offer theoretical insights to knowledge sharing behaviors among employees in organizations. Each of these dimensional dichotomies has the potential to affect knowledge sharing and KM in different organizational environments. This paper uses the literature review to suggest the organizational cultures that best facilitate knowledge sharing.

Keywords: Knowledge Sharing, Knowledge Management, Organizational Culture, Knowledge sharing Enablers, Cultural Dimensions, Information Technology, Professional Vs. Local Culture, Employee Oriented Vs. Work Oriented Culture, Open System Vs. Closed System Culture, Means Oriented Vs. Goals Oriented Culture, Externally Driven Vs. Internally Driven Culture, Easy Going Work Discipline Vs. Strict Work Discipline Culture

Organizational Cultures: An International Journal, Volume 13, Issue 3, October 2014, pp.33-52. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 704.647KB).

Hanan Abdulla Al Mehairi

Assistant Manager Knowledge Management, Knowledge Management, Dubai Water and Electricity Authority, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Hanan Abdulla Al Mehairi graduated from Dubai Women’s College in June 2008. She acquired a Distinction with honors Bachelor degree in applied sciences and in applied media communications. Hanan earned her Masters in strategic human resources management at Wollongong University in Dubai. Hanan is currently working on her PhD at Wollongong University in Dubai and working at Dubai Water and Electricity Authority as an assistant manager in Knowledge Management.

Dr. Norhayati Zakaria

Senior Lecturer, School of International Studies at the College of Law, Government, and International Studies, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Malaysia

Dr. Zakaria is a Senior Lecturer at School of International Studies at the College of Law, Government, and International Studies, Universiti Utara Malaysia. She graduated with a PhD in Information Science and Technology and MPhil in Information Transfer from Syracuse University, USA. She also obtained a Masters degree in Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA and a Bachelors Degree (Honors) in Business Administration from Universiti Utara Malaysia. Her area of expertise bridges two distinct fields - cross-cultural management and information communication technology. She is a prolific scholar in which she has published almost 80 papers in refereed journals, book chapters, and conference proceedings. At current she is working on a book project to be published in 2015 by CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group entitled, “Decision making in global virtual teams: managing the challenges and synergies during globally distributed collaboration.”