Knowledge sharing amongst academics in UK universities

Abstract

Purpose – This paper seeks to contribute to the limited previous research on knowledge sharing in universities, by profiling the attitudes of and intentions towards knowledge sharing of , and by profiling their views of some of the factors that might be expected to impact on knowledge sharing activities. Design/methodology/approach – A questionnaire based survey was used to gather a profile of UK academics’ attitudes and intentions towards knowledge sharing and related factors, including expected rewards and associations, expected contribution, normative , leadership, structure, autonomy, affiliation to institution, affiliation to discipline, and technology platform. Responses were received from 230 academics in eleven universities. Findings – Respondents had positive attitudes towards knowledge sharing and their intentions in this area were also good. This may be related to their belief that knowledge sharing will improve and extend their relationships with colleagues, and offer opportunities for internal promotion and external appointments. Respondents are relatively neutral regarding the way in which they are led, and the role of organisational structure and information technology in knowledge sharing. They have a relatively low level of affiliation to their university, perceptions of a high level of autonomy, coupled with a high level of affiliation to their discipline. Originality/value – This study demonstrates that universities do have an embedded knowledge culture, but that culture is individualistic in nature and to some extent self-serving and instrumental. This poses interesting challenges for knowledge management in universities.
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