Knowledge Sharing in Public Sector Organizations: The Effect of Organizational Characteristics on Interdepartmental Knowledge Sharing

Source: Annick Willem and Marc Buelens, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Volume 17 no. 4, October 2007

From the abstract:     
Public sector organizations are mainly knowledge-intensive organizations, and to exploit their knowledge, effective knowledge sharing among the different departments is required. We focus on specific characteristics of public sector organizations that increase or limit interdepartmental knowledge sharing. Three types of organization-specific coordination mechanisms directly influence knowledge sharing between departments. Organizations are also characterized by members’ social identification and trust, which in the absence of power games are assumed to create a knowledge-sharing context. Data are collected by a questionnaire survey in the public sector. The sample consists of 358 cooperative episodes between departments in more than 90 different public sector organizations. Structural equation modeling reveals the importance of lateral coordination and trust. The combination of power games and informal coordination seems to be remarkably beneficial for knowledge sharing. Furthermore, compared with other public sector organizations, government institutions have organizational characteristics that are less beneficial for knowledge sharing. 

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