Knowledge Sharing in Inter-Organizational Networks: An Evaluation of the Knowledge Sharing Processes in the SAPSA Network
Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
This paper is aiming to discover the conditions and processes that facilitate and influence an efficient knowledge transfer in knowledge networks such as the inter-organizational SAP network SAPSA. Knowledge is a strategically important source for companies, not only because it fosters internal growth, but also because it leads to competitive advantage. In the last years the importance of knowledge networking has considerably increased and especially inter-organizational learning is considered to present a factor having critical influence on the success of a company. Through the participation in networks individuals are able to trade their knowledge and information with others experiences, ideas and expertise. Knowledge sharing and networking should hence be considered a highly social process, which is influenced by various factors and conditions.
Through interviews with the different members and participative observation in the focus groups of the SAPSA network the importance and effect, these facilitating conditions were evaluated, drawing valuable conclusions on how to enhance the knowledge sharing process.
It was found that the main problem of SAPSA was the low activity in the focus groups, which had a negative influence on the knowledge sharing processes. The problem however was not that the members did not consider knowledge networking per se as useful, in contrast almost all respondents regarded knowledge networking as highly beneficial stressed the advantages of knowledge sharing. This led to the assumption that the problem had to lie in the implementation of the knowledge sharing process.
It furthermore was detected that for sharing different kinds of knowledge such as tacit and explicit knowledge, different forms of meeting proved to be more efficient than others and that form of knowledge and the conversion mode should be taken into consideration when deciding on the type of meeting. Various conditions were found to have impact on the efficiency of the knowledge sharing process, such as an optimal group size, the level of trust and commitment and the composition of a group and knowledge base. Furthermore communication was regarded to present an important issue having a big impact on the quality of the knowledge exchange. Management support from SAPSA and the respective user companies proved to be essential in order to increase motivation and commitment in the focus groups.
Some strategic changes were considered to have a positive influence on the knowledge networking processes within SAPSA. The establishment of a clear consistent vision capturing all the different groups within the network would provide benefits in order to be able to motivate members to participate. Here the focus should lie on the decision makers, since those were the ones to have the ability to set incentives and provide resources for the users. In this process the difficulties to measure the positive outcomes of knowledge networking and the subsequent danger of an underinvestment into knowledge networking should be taken into consideration. SAPSA should increase their influence on the focus groups and provide more guidance, in order to assure the quality of the knowledge exchange in the meetings. A new communication strategy should be developed with focus on an Internet based forum, where users and management could interact with each other.
Further research in other knowledge networks is necessary in order to increase the transferability of the gained results.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 44 p.
Knowledge Sharing, Knowledge Networking, Inter-Organizational Networks, Benefits of Knowledge Networking, Barriers to Knowledge Networking, SAP, SAPSA
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-20100OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-20100DiVA: diva2:576771
Subject / course
IHH, Business Administration
UppsokSocial and Behavioural Science, Law
Boers, Börje, Ph.D