Influence of trust on sharing of knowledge in a cross-cultural working environment

Memon, Muhammad Abdul Basit Memon (2019) Influence of trust on sharing of knowledge in a cross-cultural working environment. PhD thesis, Middlesex University.

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Abstract

This research was carried out to theoretically and empirically examine the influence of trust on knowledge sharing in a cross-cultural working environment, with the objectives to investigate: the influence of trust on knowledge sharing (KS) and the relative influence of trust on KS compared to other factors; the antecedents to trust development; the influence of culture on trust development; the influence of culture on KS, and; the individual and organizational antecedents to KS in a cross-cultural working environment. The research was conducted at three Health services institutes in Islamabad, Pakistan, through 75 semi-structured qualitative interviews and was analyzed through thematic analysis. This was underpinned by a constructivist ontology and interpretive epistemology, deemed appropriate in order to analyze and understand social reality through exploring a context based on the study of the interactions among people, groups, firms and society. This allowed an exploration and analysis of new contexts through the research participants’ eyes.

The main findings of this study are as follows: (1) Trust is the most important factor for KS compared to other factors including: cultural similarity, organizational duty, professional relationship, authenticity of shared knowledge and personality factors of the person involved in KS; (2) Although cultural similarity is also an important factor for KS, trust is much more important for KS as compared to culture or common ethnicity; (3) Culture has a substantial role in trust building; (4) Professionalism, sincerity, length of relationship, commitment, confidentiality/keeping secrets, religiosity and mutuality of ideas, interests and actives are important antecedents to interpersonal trust development; (5) Culture and ethnicity is a hurdle in the process of KS and language difference has a negative impact on KS; (6) Cultural similarity, organizational culture, managerial support, employee empowerment, motivation and organizational rewards, organizational justice and organizational resources are the major organizational antecedents to KS and (7) Interpersonal trust, intention and attitude towards KS, self-efficacy, organizational commitment, religiosity and passion to help others are the major individual antecedents to KS.

This research from both a theoretical and practical perspective, offers several key contributions. Firstly, this work contributes to the existing and growing literature on trust, knowledge sharing and culture by examining the impact of trust on KS and the impact of culture on KS and trust development in a cross-cultural working environment. As such it provides a more comprehensive picture by not only building on important existing research but also attempting to incorporate and merge several key dimensions; trust, knowledge sharing and culture, which have not been studied together in prior studies.

It is hoped that the findings of this study will open up several new productive paths for research in relation to key findings of this study. For example, the importance of authenticity of shared knowledge and personality factors for KS; influence of culture on KS and trust building; importance of professionalism and religiosity as antecedents to KS; gender biases in KS; language barriers in KS; role of organizational resources, organizational justice, employee empowerment, organizational rewards, organizational commitment and religiosity in KS. The findings of this research identify the adoption of trust as a strategic initiative for organizations to foster organizational KS. Although the influence of trust on KS has been investigated previously in multiple studies, it has not studied in a cross-cultural working environment and not in a professionalized field like the medical profession. Moreover, previous research studies have been focusing on national culture, while analysing KS from cross-cultural point view. This has largely ignored the impact of sub-culture, which can be more significant and critical, as the findings of this research have suggested. Hence, this study contributes towards the existing field by providing another more detailed analysis of the mediating effect of trust in a cross-cultural professionalized workplace for the purpose of knowledge management.

The findings go further to identify the individual and organizational factors other than trust that facilitate KS and the factors that cultivate interpersonal trust. The results from this research reinforce the need for organizational focus on training and development of employees, employee empowerment, organizational rewards and organizational resources. This research has identified ethnic differences being detrimental towards organizational KS and therefore it calls on managers to eliminate or properly manage ethnic or language based biases and conflicts, gender based biases and organizational injustice based issues in order to facilitate and promote organizational knowledge sharing. According to the findings of this research, the successful implementation of effective organizational KS depends on the creation and development of an organizational culture characterised by a learning orientation, interpersonal trust among organizational members, a strong sense of self efficacy, professionalism, organizational commitment, initiative to share knowledge and provision of managerial support and organizational resources including men, methods and machines. This research also suggests that the identification and acquisition of organizational resources and adoption and application of information is a very critical factor in encouraging organizational KS that leads to effective firm performance.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords (uncontrolled): Knowledge management, knowledge sharing, trust, culture, Pakistan, cross-cultural management
Research Areas: A. > Business School
B. > Theses
Item ID: 26462
Depositing User: Brigitte Joerg
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2019 10:19
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2019 04:27
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/26462

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