مدیران در مقابل همکاران به عنوان مرجع: مقایسه اثرات نفوذ اجتماعی بر اشتراک گذاری دانش در خارج و در داخل شرکت تابعه
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|37290||2015||17 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||15549 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Volume 126, January 2015, Pages 1–17
This study uses a social influence lens to examine how key social referents influence individuals’ knowledge sharing behaviors within and outside their subsidiaries. Using a multiple-survey research design, our empirical study shows that unit managers and co-workers act as key social referents. Their knowledge sharing behaviors have significant influence over individual knowledge sharing within the subsidiary. However, we found that in the higher-risk scenario associated with outside-subsidiary knowledge sharing, individuals model their unit managers’ knowledge sharing behaviors only when they perceive the organization to be high in willingness to take risk. Finally, our study shows that unit co-workers are such an important social referent that, despite the higher levels of uncertainty and risk in outside-subsidiary knowledge sharing, individuals look to their unit co-workers for cues on desired knowledge sharing behaviors. This study extends previous research by investigating fundamental theoretical underpinnings of prior research that examine social influence on knowledge sharing.
Prior research has shown that organizations that can effectively facilitate knowledge-sharing and utilization perform better and are more innovative than those that do not (Tsai, 2001). As noted by Quigley, Tesluk, Locke, and Bartol (2007, p. 71), “growing evidence suggests that organizations are more productive when they are able to successfully create the conditions in which knowledge is shared by potential providers and then actively put to use by the recipients of new knowledge”. As a result, many researchers are examining how organizations can facilitate knowledge sharing among their employees (see Foss et al., 2010 and Van Wijk et al., 2008). Prior work has enhanced our understanding of the role that the social environment plays in influencing individual knowledge sharing behavior. Alavi, Kayworth, and Leidner (2005, p. 193) notes that knowledge management is “not an objective, discrete and independent phenomenon occurring within organizations”, but rather, depends heavily on social settings. Some researchers have examined how relationships and social networks have an effect on knowledge sharing (Borgatti and Cross, 2003 and Hansen, 2002), highlighting how relationships between people influence trust (e.g., Borgatti & Cross, 2003), how social network structures influence information access and flow (e.g., Tsai, 2001), and how social exchanges between people influence the expected reciprocity and obligations people feel towards one another (Burgess, 2005 and Chiu et al., 2006) – all of which are expected to influence knowledge sharing. Another stream of work focuses on how perceptions of social influence affect an individual’s likelihood to engage in knowledge sharing, taking the perspective that the behaviors of others help to create workplace norms and perceptions of acceptable behavior (Kankanhalli et al., 2005 and Quigley et al., 2007). The perspective of this work stream is that individuals’ behaviors are influenced by others’ actions, because they want to conform to behaviors that are perceived as appropriate, based on the actions of others in their work environment. We wish to supplement the second research stream. Studies in this stream of work tend to examine the effects of social influence on knowledge sharing by investigating the impact of individual perceptions on knowledge sharing, including perceptions of behavioral norms, culture, and individual attitudes. While the focus of these studies is on perceptual constructs, many of them build upon theories that emphasize how others’ behaviors create norms and perceptions about appropriate behaviors. For example, prior research shows that people look to others for guidance on how to behave, especially in situations characterized by uncertainty (Festinger, 1954). Human behavior is often learned observationally through modeling others’ behaviors (Bandura, 1986), which form the basis for normative influences (Bagozzi and Lee, 2002, Cialdini and Goldstein, 2004 and Deutsch and Gerard, 1955). Based on this line of reasoning, researchers have examined how open and pro-sharing norms influence individuals’ knowledge sharing (Bock et al., 2006 and Kankanhalli et al., 2005). The critical role of social influence on knowledge sharing is frequently cited, but these studies have focused on perceptual constructs such as norms and culture rather than the fundamental underpinnings of the theories associated with social influence, i.e., the idea that the knowledge sharing behaviors of key social referents have a significant influence on other individuals’ knowledge sharing. Our study builds on and expands earlier work by empirically investigating actual knowledge sharing behaviors of managers and coworkers and examining the influence of those behaviors on individuals’ knowledge sharing behavior. In so doing, we hope to assess the fundamental underpinnings of the theories that researchers frequently use to explain the effect of social influence on knowledge sharing. At the same time, by focusing on how others’ behaviors are associated with a focal individual’s behavior, we are also investigating the extent to which others’ behaviors are a key mechanism by which knowledge sharing spreads. While the knowledge sharing behaviors of managers and coworkers are likely to provide important social cues about appropriate behaviors, prior research has also noted that there may be important distinctions between knowledge sharing within versus outside of a subsidiary. Knowledge transfer outside of one’s subsidiary involves greater uncertainties and risks, because it is more challenging to share knowledge with individuals with whom you have fewer opportunities to interact and who may have differing perspectives and skills ( Bechky, 2003). Consequently, there may be greater uncertainties and risks involving how the receiving party interprets or uses the knowledge received ( Becerra, Lunnan, & Huemer, 2008). This leads to an important unanswered question about whether individuals, under such conditions of high risk and uncertainty, would still perceive others’ knowledge sharing behaviors as appropriate behaviors to emulate. Most studies about inter-subsidiary knowledge transfer treat the subsidiary as the focal actor engaged in the knowledge transfer process. For example, prior research has examined the originating subsidiary’s motivation to share knowledge (Gupta & Govindarajan, 1984) and the autonomy of the subsidiary (Ranft & Lord, 2002), or the receiving subsidiary’s absorptive capacity and motivation to acquire knowledge (Gupta & Govindarajan, 1984). This research generally focuses on the subsidiary as the unit of analysis. Knowledge sharing, however, takes place largely via interactions between individuals, as “insight and innovative ideas occur to individuals-not organizations” (Crossan, Lane, & White, 1999, p. 524). Knowledge that is generated at the individual level later becomes institutionalized at the organizational level only after the ideas are shared among individuals (Crossan et al., 1999). Inter-subsidiary knowledge sharing takes place via day-to-day interactions of individuals cooperating and collaborating on tasks, or via interactions initiated by individuals to obtain or receive knowledge from other individuals in other subsidiaries. Hence, it is critical to examine the factors that influence knowledge sharing by individuals, rather than focusing on the firm as focal actor, because individuals make the decisions relating to knowledge sharing. In particular, focusing on the individual as the unit of analysis allows us to compare whether individuals engaging in knowledge sharing outside their subsidiaries are just as susceptible to social influence processes as inside their subsidiary. Such insights will provide guidance to researchers about the extent to which the same factors and considerations apply when individuals consider engaging in sharing knowledge within and outside their subsidiary. In summary, we build upon and contribute to research on the social influence perspective of knowledge sharing in two ways. First, we extend this theoretical perspective by examining how the knowledge sharing behaviors of social referents such as managers and coworkers influence individual knowledge sharing behavior. This enables us to investigate fundamental theoretical underpinnings of prior research that has stressed the importance of social influence on knowledge sharing in organizations. Second, our study provides insights into how social influence plays out differently in influencing individuals’ decisions to engage in knowledge sharing within their subsidiary versus outside of the subsidiary. While prior research examining within-firm knowledge sharing has established that social influence plays a significant role in influencing individual knowledge sharing behavior, it is unclear whether the social environment will play an equally decisive role when individuals decide whether to engage in knowled ge sharing