University of Leicester
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Knowledge Sharing and Social Interaction: An Exploration of Individual Action through the Integral Role of the Habitus.

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posted on 2009-04-16, 11:37 authored by Ademola Oluwaseun Obembe
With the rise in importance of technology to organizational life, a lot of attention has been given to the management of knowledge through technological applications (Chou and Lin, 2002). At the same time, a wide spectrum of social interactionist literature has argued for the importance of human agency in the creation, conversion and sharing of knowledge (cf Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995; Brown and Duguid, 2001; Dixon, 2002 and Chiva and Alegre, 2005). Given the amount of research on the importance of social interaction to the management of individual and organizational knowledge, it becomes imperative to develop a clear understanding of the role of the individual in these social interaction processes. This research begins with first principles by exploring the dynamics of knowledge sharing in organizations from the perspective of individual agents, in order to gain insight into the reasoning behind the action of individuals in sharing their knowledge and expertise. In so doing, the research assumes that the knowledge transfer process is essentially a social process and entails an active involvement of individual actors in making decisions about the sharing process. The empirical setting for this research is a single case study of Construct Co., an organization in the construction industry. Primary data was collected by in-depth interviews of a sample population of 27 respondents with additional secondary data drawn from company annual reports and in-house survey. By taking a qualitative interpretive approach (Morgan, 1979; Morgan & Smircich, 1980) and drawing on a theoretical framework that centres on Bourdieu's concepts of capital and habitus (Bourdieu, 1977,1985,1986), and the concept of communities of practice (Lave and Wenger, 1991; Brown and Duguid, 1991,2001), this thesis not only provides an exploratory insight into the determinants which govern individual knowledge sharing decision processes but also contributes to research on the practical utility of the habitus as both a conceptual and analytical tool in understanding the dynamics governing individual knowledge sharing decisions.



Conway, Steve; Bresnen, Mike

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University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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