Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to determine the factors (trust, formalization, knowledge technology, empowering leadership, effective reward systems and motivation) that influence knowledge sharing among the small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) in Malaysia, in order to meet the challenges of today's dynamic business environment. Design/methodology/approach – Systematic sampling was used to select 680 manufacturing sector participants from the SME Corporation Malaysia business directory to participate in the survey, out of which 250 valid responses were returned, yielding a response rate of 36.75 percent. Factor analysis and reliability analysis were conducted before testing the seven hypotheses formulated for this study using regression analysis. Findings – The results indicate that knowledge technology, motivation, effective reward systems, trust and empowering leadership explain up to 60.2 percent of the variance observed in attitude towards knowledge sharing. It was also found that attitude towards knowledge sharing influences intention to share knowledge with an R 2 of 0.387. Research limitations/implications – The sample for this study is based on manufacturing sector SMEs only and it is suggested that future studies enlarge the scope to include the SMEs in the service sector. Practical implications – In order to encourage knowledge sharing within SMEs, firms need to ensure that both the technical (knowledge technology) and social (motivation, effective reward systems, trust and empowering leadership) elements are addressed. Hence, a socio‐technical approach needs to be adopted to ensure the effectiveness of the knowledge management strategies formulated by SMEs. Originality/value – This study highlights the importance of six factors in encouraging knowledge sharing intentions in SMEs operating within the manufacturing sector and confirms that knowledge technology, which encompasses a range of information and communication technologies does play a pivotal role vis‐à‐vis ensuring that SMEs have favorable attitudes towards knowledge sharing for their sustained competitive advantage.
VINE – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 10, 2013
Keywords: Knowledge sharing; Information technology; Communication technologies; Small to medium‐sized enterprises; Knowledge management; Knowledge technology; Malaysia; Manufacturing industries
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