The influence of organisational culture and knowledge environment on organisational success in Saudi Arabia's IT firms

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One of the most significant discoveries and key factors of organisational success is “knowledge”. Knowledge is a resource, not only for economic progress but also an asset for business and corporate innovative success with respect to a firm’s level of competitive advantage. Knowledge is a key resource for the intellectual capital of organisations. Ultimately, knowledge and intellectual capital constitute the knowledge environment of an organisation. It is therefore vital for managers and employees to understand how knowledge processes (the flow of knowledge) and intellectual capital (the stock of knowledge) conflate to facilitate the success of their organisations. Within the study of the knowledge environment and organisational success, a potentially valuable avenue of research seeks to evaluate the position and role of organisational culture embedded in this environment. Today, Saudi Arabia is aiming to shift from an oil-reliant economy to a knowledge-based economy, were alternative resources has been acknowledge specifically with the phenomenon of knowledge-sharing. The major key component of a knowledge-based economy is the ability of organisations to manage and alter knowledge for innovative and collaborative purposes. The aim of this study is to explore the influence of organisational culture (OC) (which consists of interpersonal trust, communication and technology support) on the knowledge environment (KE): (which is made up of knowledge-sharing types, approach and process combined with intellectual capital) and organisational success (OS) in terms of financial and operational performance. The premise of this study is to understand knowledge-sharing environment practitioners in Saudi Arabia by identifying and evaluating different aspects of knowledge - sharing environment to effectively facilitate organisational success from the perspectives of both Saudis and non-Saudis. It is all about getting the right knowledge to the right people at the right time in order to share and contribute to organisational improvement, performance and, most significantly, organisational success. However, an effective organisational culture and knowledge environment are essential to ensure the long-term success of an organisation. Therefore, this study proposes that organisational culture shapes the organisation’s knowledge environment, which, in turn, affects organisational success. A research model is developed in this thesis to investigate the influence of organisational culture (OC) and knowledge environment (KE) on organisational success (OS) in Saudi Arabia’s IT firms. The three main construct domains are: organisational culture, knowledge environment and organisational success and they have a significant positive relationship between each other. The empirical research study was conducted to provide a better understanding of the research model’s interrelationships among the main key constructs within Saudi Arabia’s IT context. The key participants for this study are both managers and employees selected from various IT organisations in Saudi Arabia. The study deployed a sequence of mixed methods that incorporated both quantitative and qualitative approaches of analysis. Phase A of the research study employed a quantitative method to develop the research model based on the collected data from a survey questionnaire targeting Saudi Arabia’s IT firms from different sectors and for both Saudi and non-Saudi participants. In addition to this, the quantitative method used confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and structural equation modelling (SEM). The CFA was developed to identify the model fit indices to be good and the unidimensionality was finally proven. SEM and its correlation analysis were employed to identify the model fit significance between each model and its variables and to determine whether the Saudi or non-Saudi samples are significant. The analysis assesses the research model by evaluating the relationships and testing the hypothesis between the three main constructs. The result has revealed three statistically significant relationships: (OC → KE), (OC → OS), and (IC → OS) which, are shaped an essential part of the final empirical model as the relationships among the Enablers → Processes → Outcome. Based on the results from Phase A, a qualitative research method was established in Phase B of the analysis which supports the validity of the structural and measurement of the final model. Thus, explanatory case studies were conducted of 13 different IT organisations in Saudi Arabia using semi-structured, face-to-face interviews with key personnel within the firms. The purpose of this phase was to discover whether the empirical model could be validated by sequential qualitative data collected from specific organisational settings. This phase was accomplished through a technique called pattern matching, where the patterns of relationships between the constructs depicted in the research model was compared with the ones identified in the case studies. The case studies are demonstrated as a good match between the patterns for all the relationships uncovered from the case studies and the relationship hypothesised in the empirical model. Finally, a thematic analysis for the survey questionnaire open questions was conducted to summarise the participants’ answers to open-ended questions in the survey instrument in order to support the qualitative analysis results. These findings supported the validity of the research model in terms of representing the current phenomena of this research study. From these findings, the study is able to offer a number of implications which are beneficial to Saudi Arabia’s IT firms’ adoption of a knowledge-based economy. Knowledge environment enablers should be implemented in order to enhance the organisational culture and improve organisational success as measured through financial and operational performance. Finally, future research directions were identified to extend the results of the current research study.
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