ORGANIZATIONALCULTURE AND KNOWLEDGE SHARING: EVIDENCE FROM THE BANKING INDUSTRY IN NIGERIA
The study focused on organizational culture and knowledge sharing in the Nigeria banking industry. The objectives of the study were to examine the significant positive relationship between organizational reward system, organizational ethics and organizational structure and knowledge sharing in select deposit money banks in Akwa Ibom State. The study population comprised a total of 1,164 bank employees from three purposively selected cities of Uyo, Ikot Ekpene and Eket. A total sample of 298 bank employees was determined using Taro Yamane (1967) formula. The instrument for primary data collection was the questionnaire. The data obtained were analyzed using descriptive statistics and regression analysis. The results revealed that there is a significant positive relation between reward system and knowledge sharing; ethics and knowledge sharing and organization structure and knowledge sharing. Based on the findings of this study, it is concluded that there is a significant positive relationship between organization culture and knowledge sharing in organizations. Consequently, it was recommended among other things that, organizations should encourage employees to act based on ethical values and pay sufficient attention to organization ethics, that organizations should put in place organizational structures that would encourage knowledge sharing.
1.1 Background to the Study
Organizational culture represents the ideology of the organization as well as the forms of its manifestation. The ideology of the organization includes beliefs, values and norms and it is manifested through symbols, language, narration and other activities (Brache, 2010). Organizational culture has been defined as patterns of shared values and beliefs over time that are therefore taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel which produces behavioural norms that are adopted in solving problems (Lai & Lee, 2013).
Cultures basically spring from three sources, (1) the beliefs, values, and assumptions of founders of organization; (2) the learning experiences of group members as their organization evolves; and (3) new beliefs, values, and assumptions brought in by new members and leaders (Kerr & Clegg, 2015).
Brache (2010) uses an analogy that culture is to an organization what personality or character is to an individual. He opined that just as our personality and character guide and constrain our behaviours, so does culture guide and constrain the behaviour of members of an organization through the shared norms that are held in that organization. Studies of organizational culture have been able to shed light on the organization as an epistemological system. In addition, they have underscored the importance of organizational cultural facilitators as they affect or relate to knowledge and paved the way for more elaborate research on knowledge sharing (Nonaka , 2009).
Knowledge here refers to a combination of experience, values, contextual information and expert insight that help to evaluate and incorporate new experience and information (Gammelgaard & Ritter, 2011). It is the result of interpreting information and understanding based on one’s beliefs, attitude, behaviour and is influenced by the personality, judgment and intuition of its holder.
The importance of knowledge for organizations is no longer a question though it is not the sole element for an organization’s survival, but it is the most important because it supports all others (Hendricks, 2010). Secondly, contemporary organizations have evolved to treat knowledge as the primary production factor on which competitive advantage rests (Damodaran & Olphert, 2010).
To gain a competitive advantage, organizations should not only rely on staffing system that focuses on selecting employees who have specific skills, abilities, or competencies, and training, but must also consider how to transfer expertise and knowledge from experts to novices who need to know by emphasizing on a culture that will effectively exploit knowledge-based resources (Damodaran & Olphert, 2010).
The process of knowledge management involves several activities. One of such activities is knowledge sharing, which is defined as ”the transfer of knowledge willingly from one person (often the originator) to another person or from one group to another”, (Ford, 2011:35). Knowledge sharing is also seen as a means through which employees can contribute to knowledge application, innovation, and ultimately the competitive advantage of the organization.
According to Mesmer-Magnus and DeChurch (2010), the mediating influence of organizational culture on knowledge sharing is that culture in an organization is a dominating mechanism that fosters what is considered desirable, possible and practical to do and will persuade workers towards particular forms of activities in knowledge sharing.
Principally, culture can interact with knowledge sharing in a number of different ways: it shapes assumptions about what knowledge is worth exchanging; defines the relationship between employee knowledge and organizational knowledge; establishes the context for social interaction that plays a key role in how knowledge will be shared; shapes the processes by how new knowledge is created, validated and disseminated throughout the organization (Brache, 2010). Besides, organizational culture facilitators like organizational ethics, reward system and organizational structure are alleged to have influence on knowledge-related behaviours of individuals, teams, units and organizations as a whole.
Various studies have been conducted to examine the issues that influence the process of knowledge sharing in a business organization. Research studies by Hendriks (2010), Kerr and Clegg (2015) had indicated that different elements of the organizational culture in a business can lead to a significant influence on the process of sharing knowledge, therefore, to understand what those elements are and how they can influence the process of sharing knowledge in a business, firms are to control any potential obstacles during the process of practice. Husted and Michailva (2008) added that the success of knowledge sharing process relies mainly on the establishment of an organizational culture that motivates and reward individual staff who share knowledge. Hendriks (2010) added that the flow of knowledge in an organization relies on the organizational structure, collaboration and trust which an organizational culture motivate and promote. Moye and Henkin (2007) mention that embedding the culture of trust and care encourage staff to share their knowledge and information without fear or hesitation that the information or knowledge they shared would be used against them.
In today’s global competition, organizations including the banking sector face steep competitions from others which offer services that not only satisfy the needs of their clients but also add an increasing value. This development calls for strategic reorientation with importance put on innovativeness and uniqueness that requires organizations to constantly offer new services and this task is impossible to accomplish without sharing necessary knowledge among different functions of an organization (Moye & Henkin, 2007).
Drawing from the above scenario, this study seeks to investigate the extent to which organizational culture and knowledge sharing can influence organizations’ successful outcomes using the Nigerian banking sector.
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