Sharer consideration of receiver knowledge needs and behaviours may improve the quality and results of knowledge sharing. This paper examines how sharers may be influenced by perceived receiver knowledge needs and behaviours when making knowledge sharing choices. Such a consideration adopts an emancipatory approach aimed at acknowledging the rights of those employees who need knowledge to receive it, despite the conflicting goals, agendas or efficiency pressures of sharers. Based on a literature review, a receiver-based theory of knowledge sharing is proposed. Empirical data from two case studies highlight the key role played by perceived receiver knowledge needs and behaviours as motivators and inhibitors in sharer choices. A set of key receiver influences on knowledge sharing is provided. This study concludes that companies should develop better ways to connect potential sharers with the real knowledge needs of receivers, particularly when knowledge technologies mediate sharing. Further, the findings suggest that sharing on a need-to-know basis impedes change in organisational power structures and prevents the integration of isolated pockets of knowledge that may yield new value.