Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore knowledge sharing in a Chinese context and to examine the impact of some key contextual factors that affect knowledge sharing within project teams in the Chinese construction sector. Design/methodology/approach – Self‐administered questionnaires were used in this study. Data were collected by surveying 222 managerial employees from different project teams in the construction sector in China. Regression analysis was then used to explore the relationship between different factors and the willingness to share knowledge. The potential influence of Chinese traditional cultures on this relationship was also explored. Findings – This paper shows that within the Chinese context, explicit knowledge promotes knowledge sharing while tacit knowledge creates barriers to knowledge sharing in project teams. Moreover, trust is positively related to knowledge sharing but justice, leadership style, and empowerment do not influence whether employees will share knowledge among themselves in project teams. Originality/value – While it is well known that knowledge management is critical to success, few studies have examined knowledge management in a Chinese context and little is known how the Chinese generate, codify, and transfer knowledge. This paper tries to bridge this gap by examining what affects knowledge sharing in project teams in China so as to help better understand knowledge management in this important emerging market and whether China can sustain its success in economic growth with effective knowledge management.
Chinese Management Studies – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 13, 2008
Keywords: Knowledge sharing; Tacit knowledge; Explicit knowledge; Trust; China