How knowledge sharing leads to innovative work behaviour in Vietnamese universities

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Knowledge sharing (KS), a critical process of knowledge management (KM), is promoted by many universities, yet the success of KM initiatives mostly relies on the willingness of individuals to share their knowledge. However, KS has not always met many universities’ expectations. Vietnam has shifted from a bureaucratically centralised planned economy to a market economy since 1986 placing big challenges on Vietnamese higher education in supporting a responsive national knowledge-based economy. To examine academics’ knowledge-sharing behaviours (KSBs) in Vietnamese public universities, this study developed a new research model which modified the standard Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) model and augmented it with other theories (e.g. Theory of Planned Behaviour, Economic Exchange Theory, Social Exchange Theory). This study used a mixed-methods sequential, explanatory strategy employing a quantitative data collection followed by a qualitative study. First, questionnaire surveys were conducted with a sample of 785 academic staff from public universities in Vietnam to: (1) examine the relationships between environmental-personal factors and KSB, moderated by transformational leadership, and (2) examine the relationship between KSB and innovative work behaviour (IWB), moderated by the quality of transactive memory systems (TMS). The current research used Structural Equation Modelling to assess the research model and test hypotheses. The significant quantitative findings were explored further in semi-structured interviews with seven experts from Vietnamese tertiary education to probe aspects of the KSB. The findings interpreted from both phases have shown that (1) two environmental factors (subjective norms, trust) and three personal factors (knowledge self-efficacy, enjoyment in helping others and reciprocal benefits) had positive impacts on KSB; (2) KSB had a strongly positive effect on IWB and; (3) transformational leadership positively moderated the effects of subjective norms, trust and knowledge self-efficacy on KSB of academic staff. Interestingly, two personal factors (expected organisational rewards and psychological ownership of knowledge) were found to have insignificant associations with KSB. The study findings can be used by university leaders, academic staff and researchers in other contexts with similar characteristics in the region (i.e. Southeastern Asia developing countries). A clear understanding of the critical factors influencing KSB towards better IWB may help Vietnamese educational policymakers and university leaders develop suitable strategies to address the challenges of KS. This study contributes to the growing literature of KM, bringing Vietnam into the world map of KM research.
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