Knowledge Sharing in Cross-Cultural Virtual Teams of an NGO : Exploring the motivation for knowledge sharing of individuals

University essay from Högskolan Dalarna/Institutionen för kultur och samhälle

Abstract: Purpose – This master thesis aims to investigate knowledge sharing within two selected cross-cultural virtual teams of a non-governmental organization. The particular focus of this study is on the motivation for knowledge sharing of the individual team members. Based on the findings, the study provides implications for the development of an organizational knowledge management strategy.Design/Methodology/Approach – The qualitative research approach of this study was based on the conceptual framework of this thesis. Said framework was particularly influ-enced by Swift et al.’s (2010) model on goal orientations and the motivation to share knowledge. After eight semi-structured interviews with participants from the organization, Template Analysis was applied for the data analysis.Findings – It was possible to categorize the participants in learning-prove, learning-avoid and performance-prove goal orientations which showed that the motivation stemmed from both learning and demonstrating competence. Furthermore, contributing was a motivating factor in both goal orientations. In the learning goal orientation, it was demonstrated by wanting to contribute to a better life for youth and children and the performance goal orien-tation focused on contributing to a successful organization. The factors which affected the behaviour towards knowledge sharing were relational and cognitive ones. Structural factors did not have an effect.Practical Implications – The practical contribution of this study was the development of managerial implications for the NGO’s HR department. Based on the identified findings, these implications are to be used for the development of a knowledge management strategy within the organization, as it is currently lacking. These implications focus mainly on infra-structural issues as well as on the promotion of organizational culture.Originality/Value – The value of this study is the focus on cross-cultural virtual teams of an NGO, an area lacking research regarding the motivation of individuals to share knowledge. The authors put a particular focus on team members from Northern and Eastern Europe as well as Africa.

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