This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.
The main aim of this study is to investigate the impact of organizational culture on knowledge sharing in Omani organizations. Oman has realized the importance of knowledge for sustaining the development of the country economy (Website: ita.gov.om). Knowledge is a critical organizational resource to achieve sustainable competitive advantage and optimum levels of organizational performance (Hooff & Huysman, 2009; Hsu, 2008). Since knowledge consists of experiences, values, contextual information, and expert insight embedded in the minds of individuals as well as in documents (Davenport and Prusak, 1998 cited in Campbell, 2009), it is crucial to make it available by sharing it with other individuals.
Oman's 2010 Vision is to usher the Sultanate into the constantly spheres for applying knowledge by applying digital technology in all government institutions (Website: ita.gov.om). In order to achieve this Vision, it requires more than IT application. The existence of appropriate knowledge technology does not necessarily imply that knowledge will flow freely throughout organizations. Cultural issues are regularly cited as one of the concerns of those implementing KM initiatives (Small and Sage, 2005). There is need for other crucial elements such as trust (Sharratt & Usoro, 2003; Zakaria, Amelinckx, & Wilemon, 2004 cited in Usoro and Kuofie, 2006) and shared understanding, or "a collective way of organizing relevant knowledge" (Hinds & Weisband, 2003, p. 21 cited in Usoro and Kuofie, 2006).
Knowledge sharing, one of the several activities of knowledge management process, is the primary way by which individuals become a part in knowledge application, innovation and eventually the competitive advantage of the organization. Previous studies shows that knowledge sharing contributes to the reduction in production costs, faster completion of new product, development projects, team performance, organizational innovation capabilities and organizational performance (Wang & Noe, 2010). And for non-profit oriented organizations, knowledge sharing plays a significant role in optimizing continuous performance, service delivery and customer and employees satisfaction (Ismail and Yusof, 2009).
Knowledge sharing is generally conceived as an exchange (of knowledge) from a giver to a receiver. The receiver is not passively taking "knowledge." The receiver's perception of what is shared is influenced, by his or her cultural background (Usoro and Kuofie, 2006). According to Zakaria et al. (2004, p.16) cited in (Usoro and Kuofie 2006), "knowledge is filtered through cultural lenses, whether we are aware of such filters or not". Thus, it is very crucial to examine the cultural dimensions that affect knowledge sharing in Omani organizations, particularly.
Knowledge sharing practices such as work teams, training and development programs and mentoring programs enable exchanging knowledge among individuals, groups and organizations; and thus, contribute to the development of human capital who in turn improves organizational performance (Hsu, 2008; Small and Sage, 2005). In order for knowledge sharing practices to successfully develop the most valuable asset of organization, it is important to understand the factors that promote organizational knowledge sharing (Hsu, 2008).
Literature shows that many studies have been conducted on the factors that influence knowledge sharing (Hou, Sung & Chang, 2009). Most of the factors that have been regarded as stimulus for knowledge sharing are related to dimensions of organizational culture (Cabrera & Cabrera, 2005; Wang & Noe, 2010). Organizational Culture is "the shared, basic assumptions that an organization learnt while coping with the environment and solving problems of external adaptation and internal integration that are taught to new members as the correct way to solve those problems" (Park et al.,2004) cited in (Al-Alawi, Al-Marzooqi & Mohammed, 2007).
There are many studies on the influence of organizational culture on knowledge sharing. The findings of a qualitative study by De Long and Fahey (2000) showed that the benefits of a new technology infrastructure were limited if long-standing organizational values and practices were not promoting knowledge sharing across units (Wang & Noe, 2010). A review of literature on knowledge sharing also shows that several cultural dimensions affect knowledge sharing and trust is the most frequent one in research studies. It also shows that rewards, decentralized organizational structure and management support positively influence knowledge sharing (Wang & Noe, 2010).
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM:
To make knowledge available, organizations invest money and effort on knowledge management initiatives such as knowledge management system. Even with investment, about $31.5 billion are lost by Fortune 500 companies by reason of failing to share knowledge. One cause of this breakdown is the lack of reflection on the impact of organizational culture on knowledge sharing (Wang & Noe, 2010).
Several studies have acknowledged that traditional organizational cultures involve factors that generate obstacles to successful knowledge sharing (De Long and Fahey, 2000; Rastogi, 2000; Bock, 1999; Knapp and Yu, 1999). De Long and Fahey (2000) studied the impact of organizational cultures on behaviors central to knowledge creation, sharing, and use. The authors found that most organizations are short of a culture that supports collaborative work because people consider personal ownership of knowledge as a means of ensuring job security (De Long and Fahey, 2000). As a result, they hesitate to share knowledge and information.
Many studies on the impact of organizational culture on knowledge sharing have been conducted in countries other than Oman The impact of organizational culture on knowledge sharing in Omani organizations may be different from others'. Consequently, this paper will focus on the impact of organizational culture on knowledge sharing in Omani organizations.
The main objective of this study is to investigate the influence of organizational culture on knowledge sharing in Omani organizations. Hence, the research objectives of this study include:
To investigate the level of knowledge sharing in Omani organizations.
To identify mostly used knowledge sharing techniques in Omani organizations.
To examine whether organizational culture has a significant impact on knowledge sharing in Omani organizations.
To investigate the organizational cultural dimensions that influence knowledge sharing in Omani organizations.
To examine which of these factors have the most influence on promoting knowledge sharing in the Omani organizations.
What is the level of knowledge sharing in Omani organizations?
What kind of knowledge sharing techniques are mostly used in Omani organizations?
Does organizational culture have a significant impact on knowledge sharing in Omani organizations?
What are the organizational cultural dimensions that influence knowledge sharing in Omani organizations?
Which of these factors have the highest degree of influence on promoting knowledge sharing in Omani organizations?
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY:
This study intends to understand the influence of organizational culture on knowledge sharing in Omani organizations. The results of the study will assist small-, mid- and large- sized organizations in private and public sectors in Oman to understand the organization cultural factors that are crucial to the success of knowledge sharing. The results will be useful in order to take actions to reinforce the organizational dimensions that promote knowledge sharing as well as to eliminate the influence of those that limit the level of sharing knowledge. Because studies on knowledge sharing in Oman are rare, this study also will provide an understanding of the level of knowledge sharing, and of the organizational cultural factors that promote knowledge sharing in Omani organizations.
SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
According to Gupta and Govindarajan (2000), organizational culture involves six major categories: information systems, people (trust, motivation and communication), process, leadership, reward system and organization structure. Each of these categories includes factors that descend from it (Al-Alawi et al. 2007). Because of the limited time the researcher is faced with to complete the study, this paper will focus only on certain organization cultural factors: trust, knowledge sharing information system, reward system and organizational structure.
The biggest limitation of the study is the sample size which might not represent the real picture of the population of Omani organizations. The amount of organizations and so different organizational cultures were well displayed. Yet, because the sample size is small, the results of the study to a certain degree are difficult to generalize.
A further research can be conducted to cover the other dimensions of organizational culture which are motivation, communication, process and leadership. The sample of the study also can be extended to involve more respondents of various organizations in Oman.
Structure of the Dissertation
The dissertation is presented in five chapters. Chapter one introduces the research topic, provides a background of the study, states the research objectives and questions. It also shows the significant of the study, and the scope and limitations of the paper.
Chapter two, the literature review, identifies and discusses some of the relevant literature that is available on the subject matter. It establishes a solid background of information that is required to complete the research area.
Chapter three, the research methodology, describes how the research is conducted, in terms of questionnaires, interviews etc. It provides a detailed explanation of the usage of these methods.
Chapter four consists of summarizing the results obtained from the research methodology. By analyzing the data collected it is possible to present the findings of the research.
Chapter five draws a suitable conclusion from the findings and relates them to the original hypotheses. This section also determines whether the research has met its objectives.
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
To get a better understanding of knowledge sharing, the researcher sees that getting a clear picture of knowledge that is to be shared is worth doing.
In order to comprehend what knowledge is, it is essential to differentiate it from the terms that it is associated with: data and information. It is also important to know how these terms are linked together.
Data is raw materials obtained from observations and has no specific meaning. It is usually represented in symbols and numbers. Information is organized meaningful data that represents a phenomenon. It answers the questions what, when, who and where (Zins, 2007). Knowledge is a form of experiences, values, contextual information, and expert insight embedded in the minds of individuals (Davenport and Prusak, 1998 cited in Mvungi &Jay, n.d). It answers the questions why and how? (Zins, 2007)
Relationships between Data, Information and Knowledge:
Liew (2007) provides an explanation for why data, information and knowledge are used interchangeably. According to him, the key to understand the relationship between data, information and knowledge is to know where information resides. Information resides in storage media in a form of data or in the minds of people in a form of knowledge. Information is data that is processed and analyzed; it can be captured and stored in a form of data. Similarly, knowledge is information that is absorbed and understood by the human mind, but once it is verbalized and/or illustrated, it is referred to as information. As cited in Campbell (2009), Ford and Chan highlight the value of leveraging data and information created within organizations. They mention that knowledge, contrary to data and information, is unclear as it resides in the minds of individuals.
Types of Knowledge:
Tacit knowledge vs. explicit knowledge:
Although literature includes huge typologies for organizational knowledge such as scientific and practical, objective and based on experience, procedural, incorporated, migratory and embedded and codified, the one suggested by Polanyi is the most common in all disciplines. Polanyi differentiates between two types of knowledge: tacit and explicit (Rodriguez & etc, 2002, p.175). Tacit knowledge is a form of knowledge that we are closely familiar with as it is possessed by an individual him/herself. It is basically acquired through experience. As it is located in the subconscious level, it is hard to express, capture or transmit to others. In other words, as described by Polanyi, it is what "we know more than we can tell". On the other hand, explicit or codified knowledge is what we know and can make it into words. It is easily captured, stored and transmitted through formal, systematic language or may take the form of computer programs, patents, diagrams or similar so that it is available to any enquirer (Rumizen, 2002, p.9; Bergern, 2003, p.17; Mello, 2004, p.175 & Ein-Dor, 2008, p.164).
Individual knowledge vs. organizational knowledge:
Individual knowledge is created through individual's interactions with the surrounding environment including the organization he is working in and the external world as well (Nonaka, 1994); and that can be tacit, explicit or both (DIMA, 2008). Organizational knowledge, on the other hand, is developed and created within groups of individuals (Alavi & Leidner, 2006 as cited in Campbell, 2009). It is an integration of all the knowledge from organization's individual members and from the external environment (Bratianu, Jianu et al, 2006 as cited in DIMA, 2008). Consequently, creating a sharing culture through which an organization turns individuals' knowledge into organizational knowledge is necessary in order to leverage its business (Chan & Ford, 2003 as cited in Campbell, 2009).
According to Miller (2002) cited in (Sharratt & Usoro, 2006), sharing as a process in which two parties deliver and receive resources. For sharing to take a place there must be a resource disseminates from a source (deliverer) to a recipient. The phrase "knowledge sharing" indicates that "the giving and receiving of information framed within a context by the knowledge of the source." The received information is also framed by the knowledge of the recipient. Consequently, the knowledge of the recipient cannot be the same as the knowledge of the giver because the received information is interpreted according to the recipient's existing knowledge.
From the above information, it can be inferred that knowledge sharing is a concept that refers to the dissemination of one's acquired knowledge to other people in the organization. The existence of knowledge sharing is highly dependent on the willingness of individuals to share their knowledge that have acquired and created. (Ju et al, 2009) since knowledge resides inside individual members of the organization. However, the surrounding environment with which these individuals interact makes the process of knowledge sharing easy (Campbell, 2009).
Knowledge Sharing Techniques
Collaboration and Teamwork
Teamwork can be defined as the collaboration and cooperation between members of the team. This kind of collaboration enables putting people together, organizes their work, and manages the process to finally produce distinctive outcomes. Team members brings with them their skills, knowledge and strengths and share one mission of a project that contribute in achieving successful results for the conducted project. Thus, collaborating in teamwork projects is very important compared to working alone and crucial for organizations survival. Many organizations recognize that the significance of collaboration and teamwork can bring the business to success (Abdullah and Selamat, 2007).
Training is an essential way for developing employee's skills and enabling knowledge sharing. Various policies and strategies can be followed for conducting training programs. Internal training facilitates sharing knowledge inside the organization. External training on the other hand enables bringing new knowledge into the organization and is considered as a strategy for the development of an organization (Xiong, 2008).
Formal and Informal Discussion
It is very important for organizations to promote formal and non-formal discussions. Formal approaches are techniques such as meetings, progress reports and performance evaluation reports. Also, there are some examples of non-formal discussions like "chats around the water fountains" or "in the corridors". Other types of non-formal approaches are face-to-face interaction, dialogues, coffee or tea table chats and corridor meeting. These ways of good communication encourages the sharing of knowledge among staff members (Selamat and Choudrie, 2007)
Knowledge sharing Tools
E-mail: Using mails as a knowledge sharing tools is important because it increases communication efficiency (Kim and Ju, 2008)
The internet presents the chance to enhance knowledge sharing among individuals regardless of such constraints as geographical settings, resources and traveling time. Collaboration through online tools provides individuals with new forms of sharing the knowledge. They can get access to new ways of conducting their work and to different experts around the globe effectively and efficiently (Website: iicd.org).
Intranet can support knowledge sharing in organizations. It provides a frame for unstructured knowledge and for information exchange and flow (Lichtenstein, Hunter and Mustard 2004). According to a study by Melcrum (2001cited in Lichtenstein, Hunter and Mustard 2004), intranet offers "55% cost savings, 55% real time information sharing, 62% avoiding duplication of effort, 65% reduction in paper work, 65% improved efficiency, 72% sharing best practice, 80% improved processes, and 90% improved internal communications"
Workshops and Seminars:
This approach is much more dynamic and stimulating group learning process because:-
It allows more active learning.
It gives access to a multitude of resources.
It allows fuller and deeper discussion.
It offers the chance to liaise and network among the different stakeholders.
It allows integrating other ways to transfer knowledge.
It offers a very flexible structure to which you can easily adjust.
It gives access to a pool of different experiences from which we can learn.
(Canadian International Development Agency-CAD, 2003)
Conferences and forums: (Dong, 2008)
Conferences and forums that present a wide range of topics periodically offer organizations the opportunity to enhance formal and informal communications among individuals. The more communication employees have, the more they talk and share their beliefs, experiences and other tacit knowledge (Kim and Ju, 2008).
In focus groups, individuals get together to discuss a topics and communicate their views on the topic. It is a very useful way as it enables organizations to get a wide range of interpretations and individuals to exchange information and build on their knowledge (Website: usabilitynet.org).
Quality circles, according to Ishikawa (1985) cited in (Salaheldin and Zain, 2007), are "small group of workers, from the same workplace, who meet together on a regular, voluntary basis to perform quality control activities and engage in self mutual development". A quality circle is a team consists of twelve people or less who voluntarily work together in order to solve work problems through identification, investigation and analysis (Department of Trade and Industry, 1992, in Millson and Kirk-Smith, 1996 as cited in Salaheldin and Zain, 2007).
Importance of a Supportive Knowledge Sharing Culture:
Managing knowledge consists of a number of activities: creating, gathering, organizing, sharing, adapting and using knowledge exists inside and outside the organization (Milton, 2002). Of these processes, knowledge sharing is significant as it is about spreading individuals' knowledge throughout the organization (Chan & Ford, 2003 cited in Campbell, 2009). It enables organizations to develop skills and competences and ultimately to increase value (Matzler, Renzel, Muller, Herting and Mooradian, 2008). Knowledge sharing consists of "shared understandings related to providing employees access to relevant information and building and using knowledge networks within organizations" (Hogel et al, 2003 cited in Lin, 2007).
Knowledge sharing is as same as communication in the way that it is fulfilled within a cultural context (Usoro & Kuofie, 2006) so that creating a culture for sharing knowledge is crucial (Chan & Ford, 2003 cited in Campbell, 2009). However, the creation of knowledge sharing culture is about making knowledge sharing the norm and requires inspiring people towards effective collaboration. It is a hard task; not merely a change which is hard, too, but also about viewing the world differently (Gurteen, 1999). It is a big challenge for organizations to create a culture in which individuals share knowledge without having doubt of losing their personal guarantee and excellence (Aulawi et al, 2009). As knowledge sharing is highly dependent on the willingness of individuals to share the knowledge they posses, organizations need to create a culture that encourages and raises the willingness of employees to share knowledge among them (Xiong & Deng, 2008).
Organizational culture constitutes the basic assumptions and beliefs shared by members of an organization. (Gomez-Mejia, Balkin and Cardy, 2007). Colquitt, LePine and Wesson (2010) define organizational culture as the shared social knowledge within an organization and that represents the rules, norms and values that form employees' behaviors and attitudes. Based on this definition, they highlight on three facets of organizational culture. First, culture is social knowledge that is learnt among organizational members through explicit communication, simple conversation or other less noticeable ways with other employees. Besides, this knowledge is shared which means that organizational members are aware of what the culture of their organization is. Second, employees know the organizational rules, norms and values from its culture. Third, employees' attitudes and behaviors are formed by the organizational culture that conceives a system of control over them. Individuals' goals and values grow over time to match those of the organization for which they work.
Schein (1990 cited in Lim 1995) defines organizational culture as:
" a pattern of basic assumptions that a group has invented, discovered or developed in learning to cope with its problems of external adaptation and internal integration, and that have worked well enough to be considered valid, and therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems."
According to Schein (1990 cited in Lim, 1995), culture consists of three levels:
Behaviors and artifacts: this level represents the physical and social environment of an organization such as mottos, physical space, visible behaviors and artistic production.
Values: the elements of this level are less noticeable than those of behaviors and artifacts, and they represent the frame by which behaviors and artifacts' constituents are translated.
Basic assumptions: this level is developed unconsciously over time by transforming the organizational values and considers them as the appropriate way of interacting with the world.
Organizational culture and knowledge sharing:
Studies show that trust is a necessary condition for knowledge sharing (Schepers & Van den Berg, 2007; Wang, 2004; Willem & Scarbrough, 2006 cited in Wang & Noe, 2010; Levin, Cross, Abrams and Lesser, 2002). Creating a culture which promotes trust must be a pivotal theme of knowledge management practices in an organization in order to facilitate knowledge sharing among its members. For employees, it is not easy to find knowledgeable coworkers who are willing to help others, particularly in large organizations. In addition, organization's members hesitate to tell others about what they know; probably they are not confident of the relevancy of their knowledge or they do not like to be noticed for the knowledge they own (Levin, Cross, Abraham and Lesser, 2002).
Knowledge sharing information system:
Technology is very crucial as an enabler of knowledge sharing. Technology makes possible for organizations to collaborate globally with coworkers. If it is implemented properly and if organizational members have received adequate training and education, knowledge sharing technology is worthy. Individuals become able to find knowledge and information they need efficiently and effectively as well as to post their knowledge in the information system so that others can access and benefits from them (Gurteen, 1999).
Reward system for knowledge sharing:
Bartol and Locke (2000) (cited in Bartol and Srivastava, 2002) identified several important aspects of organizational reward systems that are useful for motivating individuals to perform the targeted behaviors. These factors include, but are not limited to, perceived fairness of rewards, employees setting challenging goals in order to achieve the attractive rewards, and practices that insure that employees possess high self-efficacy for performing the task. Allee (1997) as cited in Reid and McNamee (2004) states:
"The key elements of a knowledge culture are a climate of trust and openness in an environment where constant learning and experimentation are highly valued, appreciated and supported."
Knowledge sharing is best supported by intrinsic rewards (e.g., saving work time, participating in useful and interesting dialog, or professional pride in being recognized as an expert). External rewards must be selected carefully because what motivates in one organization may be a barrier in another (Small and Sage, 2005).
In a review of literature about the impact of organizational structure on knowledge sharing, Wang and Noe (2010) have found that organizations should provide employees with opportunities of interaction in order to take place. They should also understate employees' rank, seniority and position in the organizational hierarchy in order to enable knowledge sharing. Knowledge sharing may be facilitated by having a less centralized organizational structure (Kim & Lee, 2006 cited in Wang and Noe, 2010), creating a work environment that encourages interaction among employees such as through the use of open workspace (Jones, 2005 cited in Wang and Noe, 2010), use of fluid job descriptions and job rotation (Kubo, Saka, & Pam, 2001 cited in Wang and Noe, 2010), and encouraging communication across departments and informal meetings (Liebowitz, 2003; Liebowitz & Megbolugbe, 2003; Yang & Chen, 2007 cited in Wang and Noe, 2010).
CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY
Based on the problem statement and the literature reviewed; particularly on Gupta's definition of organizational culture, the following framework has been developed. However, because of time and resources restriction, the researcher focuses only on a number of organizational culture dimensions mentioned in Gupta's definition to be considered as factors that influence knowledge sharing. Therefore, the independent variables in this study are (1) trust, (2) rewards, (3) organizational structure and (4) knowledge sharing information system. In this research, the researcher chooses knowledge sharing as the dependent variable.
Knowledge Sharing Information System
Reward System (aligned with knowledge sharing)
The hypotheses of this study are as following:
H1: There is a significant positive relationship between trust among educators and knowledge sharing in Omani educational institutions.
H2: There is a significant positive relationship between the existence of a rewards system aligned with knowledge sharing and knowledge sharing in Omani educational institutions.
H3: There is a significant positive relationship between the existence of knowledge sharing information system and knowledge sharing in Omani educational system.
H4: There is a positive relationship between some aspects of organizational structure (participative decision making, ease of information flow, teams and communities of practice) and knowledge sharing in Omani educational institutions.
This is a correlation study between the independent variables (trust, reward system, knowledge sharing information system and organizational structure) and the dependant variable which is knowledge sharing. The study will test the previously mentioned hypotheses in order to understand and draw a conclusion on whether and how organizational culture critically influences knowledge sharing among educators in Omani educational institutions.
Table 2.1. Operational Definition:
Indicators of existence
Direct assessment of knowledge sharing
Knowledge sharing techniques (reliability measure) (Davenport and Prusak, 1998; Griffen, 2002; Sayed-Ikhsan and Rowland, 2004)
Teamwork and collaboration required to accomplish tasks (reliability measure) (Goh, 2002)
Willingness to share knowledge freely (reliability measure) (Davenport and Prusak, 1998)
Sharing feelings and perceptions (Mishra and Morrisay, 1990)
Sharing personal information (Mishra and Morrisay, 1990)
The existence of protective rules and procedures (institution-based trust) (Ford, 2001).
Strong knowledge of coworkers' personalities (knowledge-based trust (Ford, 2001)
Previous experience with trust (Reyes et al, 2004)
Belief in others' good intentions (Broomlley and Cummings, 1996; in Roberts et al, 2004)
Existence of knowledge sharing technologies (Connely and Kelloway, 2003)
Effectiveness (usefulness) of knowledge sharing tools (Smith and McKeen, 2003)
Comfort while using knowledge sharing technologies (Smith and McKeen, 2003)
Reward systems (aligned with knowledge sharing)
Existence of rewards for knowledge sharing (Syed-Ikhsan and Rowland, 2004; Goh, 2002)
Effectiveness of knowledge sharing rewards (Goh, 2002)
Existence of team-based rewards (Goh, 2002)
Organization structure (supporting knowledge sharing)
Participative decision-making (Griffen and Moorhead, 2001)
Ease of information flow (Syed-Ikhsan and Rowland, 2004)
Cross-functional teams (Goh, 2002)
MEASURMENT OF VARIABLES:
The instrument of the study is a questionnaire used to investigate the relationship between organizational culture and knowledge sharing in the educational institutions in Oman. It will also measure which cultural dimension(s) has the most significant effect on knowledge sharing. The questionnaire has been adapted from Al-Alawi et al (2007) to suit the context of educational institutions.
Five-point Likert scale
Five-point Likert scale
Five-point Likert scale
Five-point Likert scale
Five-point Likert scale
The survey has been divided into seven sections: section (A) contains the demographic characteristics of the respondents, section (B) includes items measuring the dependant variable by using dichotomous scale in which respondents are expected to support or oppose the statements, five-point Likert scale which requires circling the corresponding numbers assessing the statements, and a category scale which represent a direct question asking respondents to assess the level of knowledge sharing in and across their schools by choosing excellent, good or poor. Sections (C), (D), (E) and (F) include items measuring the independent variables that constitute organizational culture. In these sections, five-point Likert scale is used to measure trust, information systems, reward systems and organization structure respectively.
Layout of the questionnaires
Number of items
B, C, D, E
(B) Knowledge sharing
Excellent Good Poor
Five-point Likert scale
(D) Information system
(E) Rewards systems
(F) Organization structure
According to Hopskin (2000), the safest way to insure sample to represent the population is to use a random selection procedures especially if the study does not have a proportional representation of population subgroups. Since this study is correlation study which is to delineating the important variables that are associated with the problem hence in this study researcher proposes to use simple random sampling because this method provides least bias and offers the most generalization.
The field survey is conducted through to distribution of questionnaires to targeted respondent. The research respondents are teachers in Sharqia South schools in the Sultanate of Oman. By using the simple random sampling, the questionnaire is distributed to (200) educators.
Data Collection Procedures
Data is collected using a structured questionnaire. The questionnaire is distributed to (200) educators in Sharqia South schools. The researcher aims to collect at least 150 questionnaires. Data is collected in one shot.
TECHNIQUES OF DATA ANALYSIS:
After obtaining data from respondents, they are made ready for analysis by editing, handling blank responses and coding them in order to preserve accuracy. Then, they are entered into the computer to be analyzed by using the Statistical Packages for the Social Science (SPSS) in order to test reliability and validity of the measures ( Cronbach's Alpa), to obtain descriptive analysis (frequency distributions and measures of central tendencies and dispersion), inferential statistics (Pearson Correlation) and hypothesis testing. Based on these analysis interpretations and recommendations are provided.
The concept of knowledge sharing continues to evolve. Regardless of its evolution, knowledge sharing is recognized as an important competitive factor for businesses worldwide (Martin, 2000; Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995). The literature revealed that the first organizational efforts to manage knowledge focused on information technology solutions. These technology-driven solutions, although important to knowledge management and particularly for knowledge sharing, often failed to achieve their objectives because they did not consider cultural factors critical to effective knowledge sharing (De Long, 2000). Organizations failed to consider the relationship between knowledge sharing and organizational culture, and the cultural factors that impacted effective such knowledge management initiative as knowledge sharing. Just as knowledge sharing is critical to an organization's competitive advantage, organizational culture is critical to an organization's definition and performance of its business strategy. Therefore, knowledge sharing cannot be effectively tackled without tackling organizational culture.
Organizational culture is complex and multi-faceted. It encompasses many factors that are embedded into an organization's system of values, beliefs, norms, and rules (Blackler, 2000; Gupta and Govindarajan, 2000; Rastogi, 2000; Miller, 1995). The literature also displays a framework for addressing the relationship between organizational culture and knowledge sharing by identifying the cultural factors that affect knowledge sharing. These cultural factors are trust, information systems, reward systems and organizational structure. And even though these cultural factors may be defined and investigated independently, they are in fact interdependent.
For that reason, each cultural factor should be addressed in relationship to the others.
The purpose of this study, however, was to present the impact of these cultural factors on knowledge sharing in Omani organizations (small and large sized) based on evidence in the literature.
The most important lesson revealed in this study is that a focus on organizational culture is a key to build an effective knowledge-sharing environment.. By focusing on the cultural factors that define an organizational culture, organizations can take small steps toward creating a knowledge-centered culture. As the results have shown previously in Chapter four in this study, these steps include a combination of trust, information technology, reward system and organizational structure that supports knowledge sharing.
In summary, organizational culture holds the key to successful knowledge sharing. As senior executives of Omani organizations study ways to make organizational knowledge available, they will come across cultural factors that either enable or imped the sharing of knowledge. To ensure successful knowledge sharing, senior executives should first approach knowledge sharing from a cultural perspective.
Martin, B. (2000). Knowledge Management within the Context of Management: An Evolving Relationship. Singapore Management Review, 22(2), 17-37.
Nonaka, I. and Takeuchi, H. (1995). The Knowledge-Creating Company: How Japanese Companies Create the Dynamics of Innovation. New York, New York: Oxford University Press.
De Long, D.W. and Fahey, L. (2000). Diagnosing Cultural Barriers to Knowledge Management. Academy of Management Executive,14 (4), 113-127.
Blackler, F. (2000). Collective Wisdom. People Management, 6(13), 61-63.
Gupta, A.K. and Govindarajan, V. (2000). Knowledge Management's Social Dimension: Lessons From Nucor Steel. Sloan Management Review, 42(1), 71-81.
Rastogi, P.N. (2000). Knowledge Management and Intellectual Capital - The New Virtuous Reality of Competitiveness. Human Systems Management, 19(1), 39-49.
Miller, K. (1995). Organizational Communication: Approaches and Processes. Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publishing Company.
Rastogi, P.N. (2000). Knowledge Management and Intellectual Capital - The New Virtuous Reality of Competitiveness. Human Systems Management, 19(1), 39-49.
Bock, F. (1999). The Intelligent Approach to Knowledge Management: Viewing KM in Terms of Content, Culture, Process, and Infrastructure. Knowledge Management Review, April (7), 22-25.
Knapp, E. and Yu, D. (1999). Understanding Organizational Culture: How Culture Helps or Hinders the Flow of Knowledge. Knowledge Management Review, 7, 16-21.