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Toward a receiver-based theory of knowledge sharing
journal contributionposted on 2006-01-01, 00:00 authored by Sharman Lichtenstein, A Hunter
Managers and researchers alike have sought new ways to address the challenges of sharing dispersed knowledge in modern business environments. Careful consideration by sharers of receivers' knowledge needs and behaviours may improve the effectiveness of knowledge sharing. This research examines how sharers react to their perceptions of receivers' knowledge needs and behaviours when making choices relating to sharing knowledge. The focus of this article is to propose and empirically explore a theoretical framework for a study of the role of the receiver in knowledge sharing--receiver-based theory. Data collected from two case studies highlight a key role played by perceived receiver knowledge needs and behaviours in shaping sharer choices when explicit knowledge is shared. A set of receiver influences on knowledge sharing is provided that highlights key receiver and sharer issues. The paper concludes that companies should develop better ways to connect potential sharers with receivers' real knowledge needs. Further, the findings suggest that sharing on a need-to-know basis hinders change in organisational power structures, and prevents the integration of isolated pockets of knowledge that may yield new value.