The impact of organisational culture on staffknowledge sharing in higher education

Niall Corcoran, Aidan Duane

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


This study is rooted in the complex and rapidly changing convergence of higher education, information systems, and the new wave of social media enabled knowledge management (KM). The implementation of KM practices in higher education institutions (HEIs) has been identified as being at low levels by a number of studies, and the consequent lack of staffknowledge sharing has a negative impact on overall performance. The research is based on an Action Research project and its main focus is to investigate how enterprise social networks (ESN) can enable staffknowledge sharing in virtual communities of practice in HEIs. The conceptual model for the research identified a number of key antecedents which must be present for a knowledge sharing environment to emerge. One of these is having an organisational culture that makes peer sharing of knowledge just as valid as top-down sharing. Many of the organisational and individual barriers to knowledge sharing stem from the presence of an organisational culture that does not promote or encourage knowledge sharing, and this is evidenced in management practices. This study seeks to explore the extent of the impact that organisational culture has on the knowledge sharing environment, and to discover if management and staffare committed to overcoming the barriers in order to realise the benefits that having an open knowledge sharing culture brings. The key findings indicate that organisational culture and structure are major barriers to staffknowledge sharing and this problem is exacerbated in HEIs by the existence of a divide between faculty and other staff. In addition, management have a major role to play in shaping the knowledge sharing environment and this can only be achieved through transformational leadership, driving change in the culture such that staffare suitably motivated to interact and collaborate with each other, and share knowledge freely. The study findings provide opportunities for educationalists to better understand the scope of employing ESN platforms for knowledge sharing and how organisational culture impacts on participation. In seeking to determine the drivers and barriers to sustainable use, this research should be of interest to practitioners and researchers undertaking similar projects.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 18th European Conference on Knowledge Management, ECKM 2017
EditorsRamon Bastida Vialcanet, Frederic Marimon, Jasmina Berbegal-Mirabent, Ramon Bastida Vialcanet, Marta Mas-Machuca, Jasmina Berbegal-Mirabent
PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International Limited
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781911218487
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event18th European Conference on Knowledge Management, ECKM 2017 - Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 07 Sep 201708 Sep 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings of the European Conference on Knowledge Management, ECKM
ISSN (Print)2048-8963
ISSN (Electronic)2048-8971


Conference18th European Conference on Knowledge Management, ECKM 2017


  • Action research
  • Communities of practice
  • Enterprise social networks
  • Higher education
  • Knowledge management
  • Organisational culture


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