Different knowledge, different benefits: toward a productivity perspective on knowledge sharing in organizations
Martine R. Haas 1 *, Morten T. Hansen 2
1The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
2INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France
email: Martine R. Haas (email@example.com)
*Correspondence to Martine R. Haas, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 2000 Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall, 3620 Locust Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104, U.S.A.
knowledge sharing, capabilities, teams, resource-based view
We develop a differentiated productivity model of knowledge sharing in organizations proposing that different types of knowledge have different benefits for task units. In a study of 182 sales teams in a management consulting company, we find that sharing codified knowledge in the form of electronic documents saved time during the task, but did not improve work quality or signal competence to clients. In contrast, sharing personal advice improved work quality and signaled competence, but did not save time. Beyond the content of the knowledge, process costs in the form of document rework and lack of advisor effort negatively affected task outcomes. These findings dispute the claim that different types of knowledge are substitutes for each other, and provide a micro-foundation for understanding why and how a firm’s knowledge capabilities translate into performance of knowledge work. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Received: 19 January 2005; Revised: 25 April 2007