Affiliated Organization

Case Western Reserve University, USA


In recent years, attempts to capture and leverage a firm's knowledge resources have become a primary focus in the pursuit of competitive advantage. Business leaders have increasingly looked to their firms' bases of knowledge - on topics such as customers, suppliers, markets, and business practices-as their most critical strategic resource. This trend has led to the widespread adoption of knowledge management initiatives aimed at capturing and leveraging the knowledge of social actors within an organization to advance the economic interests of the firm. Within such an effort, the behavior of knowledge sharing by individual business professionals stands as a necessary first condition for programmatic success. This essay explores the determinants of knowledge sharing by applying Ajzen's Theory of Planned Behavior to the context of knowledge management. The implications of the model provide support for an emphasis on organizational culture and relationship issues in the development and initiation of a knowledge management program. The model presented incorporates both formal and informal features of organizational contexts that can promote or discourage knowledge sharing behavior. The critical nature of social factors, reflected in the organizational culture of a firm, is strongly supported by the model. In addition, the analysis will illustrate the degree to which technological resources can influence the expected knowledge sharing behavior of business professionals.