- Key Determinants of Knowledge Sharing (KS) and the Building of Competitiveness in Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Sabah, Malaysia: A case study.
- Lee, Damian That Min
- Resource Type
- Professional Doctorate - Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
- The notion of knowledge, its management, creation, effective sharing and utilization are increasingly recognized as a key source of competitive advantage. In the knowledge-based economy (K-economy), knowledge is reckoned as power and it is being propelled into the forefront to facilitate the creation of sustainable competitive advantage (SCA) for organizations of all sizes. Embarking on the K-economy, Sabah small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as well as other SMEs in Malaysia are being pushed into the forefront to face up with intense competition from large organizations and multi national corporations (MNCs) driven by globalization. To compete and survive in the K-economy, Sabah SMEs have little option but to improve on their competitiveness. It is therefore pertinent for Sabah SMEs to initiate learning, cultivating, and practicing knowledge sharing (KS), in particular the sharing of tacit knowledge, local skills and expertise acquired to improve competitiveness and develop SCA in order to sustain their businesses. A gap existed in the relevant extant literature on KS in SMEs as most research studies on knowledge, knowledge creation and KS emphasize and focus on large corporations only. Likewise, there are relatively limited research studies conducted in knowledge management (KM) and KS in SMEs Malaysia, in particular Sabah SMEs. As such this research sought to investigate KS issues confronting Sabah SMEs pertaining to sustainability of their businesses in the midst of intense competition in the K-economy. The specific research problem examined was: ‘How does knowledge sharing facilitate the competitiveness and develop sustainable competitive advantage (SCA) in Sabah SMEs? Perspective of a leading Sabah SME retailer’ To address this research problem a case study methodology under the interpretivist paradigm was adopted. A research conceptual framework (RCF) based on Nonaka’s (1991) Socialization, Externalization, Combination and Internalization (SECI) process model of knowledge creation and sharing was employed to explore and investigate the KS issues focusing on key determinants of KS and KS influence in building competitiveness in Sabah SMEs from a leading Sabah SME retailer perspective. Thirty interviewees were selected comprising three categories of management, clerical and technician staff from the leading Sabah SME to gather rich and deep primary data via in-depth interviews to illuminate the research problem. This case study research produced 18 new findings on KS issues in Sabah SMEs which supported the RCF in line with Nonaka’s (1991) SECI model. The findings of this research highlight key determinants of KS in Sabah SMEs primarily comprise of work environment factor such as ‘job pressure and teamwork’ and staff attitudinal factor in the form of ‘mutual respects and gain’ in addition to human, organizational and ICT factors as revealed by extant literature. This implies that work environment and staff attitudinal factors probably have more determining or pulling power of KS in Sabah SMEs than human, organizational and ICT factors. Research findings also feature very prominently work environment factor in the form of ‘job pressure’ as directly correlated to KS and had the most influence on KS in building competitiveness in Sabah SMEs. Even though the findings are subject to limitations, this research provides significant implications for theory-generation, Sabah SMEs, other business communities, policymakers, the Sabah state government and society at large. Future research on the emerging field of knowledge sharing in Sabah SMEs hold prospects to understand deeper the complexity of KS concept in order to improve the overall performance of Sabah SMEs which must survive the intensely competitive K-economy so as to contribute to the economy building of the State and country.
- key determinants; knowledge creation; knowledge retention; knowledge sharing; knowledge utilization; knowledge-based economy (k-economy); globalization; competitiveness; sustainable competitive advantage (SCA); small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs)
- Copyright 2006 Damian That Min Lee
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