University of Oulu

How to promote knowledge sharing in organizations using the psychological contract as a management tool

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Author: Forsman, Riikka1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Management and International Business, Management
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Oulu : R. Forsman, 2014
Publish Date: 2014-06-02
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Lämsä, Tuija
Reviewer: Lämsä, Tuija
Poutanen, Hilkka
The aim of the study was to explore and understand the factors promoting knowledge sharing in organizations. In addition, the study aimed to find out how management could further knowledge sharing in organizations using the psychological contract as a management tool. The study focused on the individual employees. The study asked what motivates knowledge workers to share their personal knowledge and what makes knowledge sharing desirable from the perspective of an employee. The concept of the psychological contract was used to explain the relationship between the employee-employer relationship and the knowledge sharing motivation. The study aimed to find answers to the question how can the psychological contract help management to promote knowledge sharing performance. The research choices of the study originated from the interpretative research paradigm. The study is qualitative and it was conducted as an extensive multiple-case study among five knowledge workers located in Oulu and representing different business fields. Two web developers, a start-up entrepreneur, a project manager and a university teacher were interviewed in order to study individual experiences of knowledge workers on knowledge sharing. The interviews were conducted as a semi structured and the data collected was analyzed using phenomenological hermeneutic methods. The results of the study showed that knowledge is shared most effectively in organizations where communality is strong, communication flawless, knowledge sharing behavior is supported by upper management and the creative nature of knowledge work is respected. The knowledge sharing motivation of knowledge workers showed to be mostly intrinsic and based on the reciprocity and the common good. The psychological contract was studied using former literature and its suitability as a management tool in knowledge management was evaluated. The concept of the psychological contract proved to be a useful tool for assessing employees’ needs and expectations in order to find the best possible means to arouse the intrinsic motivation towards knowledge sharing. The results of the study offered managerial implications in order to increase the amount and the quality of the knowledge sharing behavior in organizations. By improving communication and recognizing the importance of the continuous re-negotiation of the psychological contracts of the individual employees, management can better intrinsically motivate knowledge workers to share their knowledge. To ensure the knowledge sharing performance management should make sure that the work of the knowledge workers includes enough creative problem solving. Also, the relaxed organizational climate with suitable amount of autonomy was revealed to be an important factor affecting on job satisfaction and accordingly on knowledge sharing.
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Copyright information: © Riikka Forsman, 2014. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.