Middle Management Knowledge by Possession and Position: A Panoptic Examination of Individual Knowledge Sharing Influences pp67-82
Abstract: This paper elucidates the spectra of influences that impact the intra‑organisational tacit and explicit knowledge sharing behaviour of the middle line, a boundary spanning layer highly capable to influence, inform and transform. The approach addresses a deficiency in research that affords an eclectic perspective across both knowledge types simultaneously and at an individual level of analysis. Advancing Ipe’s (2003) conceptual work, the Multidimensional Model of Individual Knowledge Sharing Influences integrates robust and multi‑disciplinary theoretical exposition with empirical validation in four leading UK Communication Sector operators. The model encapsulates the direct influence factors of Motivation to Share, Nature of Knowledge, Opportunity to Share, Culture and the Nature of the Individual. Organisational Velocity provides an original conceptualisation of the continual, episodic and ambiguous change that reflects reality in many post‑industrial settings and is expressed as the tension between centrifugal and centripetal forces acting on the other factors. All six dimensions are shown to impact individual knowledge sharing practice, with underexplored constructs such as personality traits and aspects of demography emerging as significant. Organisational Velocity can operate in a moderating and primarily centrifugal capacity on Motivation to Share, Opportunities to Share and the Nature of the Individual. The study demonstrates that a panoptic, pluralistic and interdisciplinary perspective combining human, social, technological and contextual factors must be considered to understand sharing behaviour and optimise knowledge management interventions. A particular element may not be evaluated in isolation. Further, when factor dynamics are sub‑optimum, the middle line may pragmatically orientate towards personal knowledge management mechanisms. Evidence of hoarding, hiding or disengagement from sharing is identified with some managers electing to utilise their knowledge in possession and network positional opportunity to generate rent in alignment with individual and affiliated group interests, negating its aggregation for wider organisational benefit. Implications for research and practice are fully explored.
Keywords: Keywords: knowledge sharing, middle management, individual knowledge sharing influences model, organisational velocity, personal knowledge management, knowledge hoarding, hiding and disengagement