Motivators and inhibitors to knowledge sharing in I.T. project teams

Jewels, Tony John (2006) Motivators and inhibitors to knowledge sharing in I.T. project teams. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


The potential importance of managing knowledge for competitive advantage has been widely discussed according to Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995), with the sharing and application of knowledge being widely identified in recent years as key sources of sustained competitive advantage (Hall & Sapsed 2005, p57). While Alavi and Leidner (2001, p216) agree that much theory already exists on knowledge management, they argue that little empirical work has been undertaken and hence there are large gaps in the body of knowledge in this area. Bresnen, Edelman, Newell, Scarbrough, and Swan (2003) further suggest that only recently has attention been specifically directed towards managing knowledge in project environments.

Evidence of poor IT project success continues to be provided by many researchers even though today's corporations recognize that to be successful, they need to understand modern project management techniques (Schwalbe 2002, p2). With Kotnour (2000) finding that project performance is positively associated with project knowledge, a better understanding of how to effectively manage knowledge in IT projects should have considerable practical significance for increasing the chances of project success.

The focus of this research centres on the question of why individuals working within IT project teams might be motivated towards, or inhibited from, sharing their knowledge and experience in their activities, procedures, and processes.

Using a combined qualitative/quantitative method of data collection in multiple case studies spanning four continents, and comprising a variety of organisational types, the research concludes with the development of a new theoretical model of knowledge sharing behaviour, &quotThe Alignment Model of Motivational Focus". This model suggests that an individual's propensity to share knowledge and experience is a function of perceived personal benefits and costs associated with the activity, balanced against the individual's alignment to a group of 'institutional' factors. These factors are identified as alignments to the project team, to the organisation, and dependent on the circumstances, to either the professional discipline or community of practice, to which the individual belongs.

The model might be used within knowledge intensive projects, to help identify an individual's latent propensity to share knowledge, and to identify actions that may need to be taken in order to modify knowledge sharing behaviour.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 16423
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Underwood, Barney, De Pablos Heredero, Carmen, Ford, Marilyn, & Gregor, Shirley
Keywords: knowledge management, knowledge sharing behaviour, knowledge sharing, competitive advantage, IT project teams, IT projects
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Schools > Information Systems
Department: Faculty of Information Technology
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Tony John Jewels
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 04:03
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2016 06:07

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