The Relationships among Organizational Knowledge Sharing Practices, Employees' Learning Commitments, Employees' Adaptability, and Employees' Job Satisfaction: An Empirical Investigation of the Listed Manufacturing Companies in Jordan

Article excerpt

Introduction

Today's business environment is characterized by fast, dramatic, and unexpected changes. Therefore, managers not only have to be high performers in the traditional sense, but also fast and adaptive learners (Karaevli & Hall, 2006). Several new competencies are needed to cope in this new environment because business managers work under different circumstances and environments. Prior research indicates that an individual's adaptability and learning commitments enable business managers to manage and overcome many unexpected difficulties in a business environment. Perpetual changes in the workplace and daily business activities bring a need for using organizational knowledge sharing practices and an increase in demand for continuance learning. Since a manager's typical work requires adaptive responses to new environmental conditions, it has been asserted that only knowledge sharing and continuous learning behavior can lead to effective responses. A review of knowledge sharing literature reveals two knowledge sharing implications: individual learning commitments and individual adaptability. These are expected to improve individual competencies and then lead to individual job satisfaction. Individuals' competencies usually provide capital gains for both individuals and organizations. Because individuals have heterogeneous amounts of knowledge, skills, and capabilities that vary across organizations, it is important they are guided and coordinated effectively to improve organizational performance.

Three approaches are used to enhance employees' knowledge sharing within organizations:

* a technology-based approach in which the technology is considered the facilitator of knowledge sharing practices within an organization;

* an incentive-based approach in which the monetary and non-monetary rewards promote knowledge sharing practices;

* and an organizational-based approach in which structure, processes, and management style simplify the application of knowledge sharing practices (Hsu, 2006).

Although the first and the second approach have received scrutinized testing, the implications of the third approach have been largely untested. This study investigates the third approach from the Jordanian manufacturing managers' perspectives. Although knowledge sharing has been considered an important goal in almost all types of organizations, it is still represents a concern for many employees. Usually, organizations mitigate these concerns by offering various incentives and rewards. In fact, effective organizational knowledge sharing practices prepare employees to share and accept new ideas and learn new ways of thinking, which leverages their knowledge and capabilities.

Nurturing a learning culture within organizational boundaries encourages employees to continually learn from each other (Becerra-Fernandez, Gonzalez, & Sabherwal, 2004). Also, employees will adapt their information needs according to new changes in the business environment. Employees' commitment to learning and willingness to learn new knowledge and skills not only improve an organization's competitive advantage but also foster ongoing success (Tsai, Yen, Huang, & Huang, 2007). Organizations seeking performance gains should consider dedicating a significant amount of effort toward fostering employees' learning and sharing behaviors. In spite of the growing interest in organizational knowledge sharing practices, its challenges, antecedents, and performance implications, there is still a dearth of empirical studies that investigate organizational knowledge sharing practices implications such as individuals learning commitments, individuals' adaptability, and individuals' job satisfaction. Therefore, it appears that investigating this issue in more detail is worthwhile. Thus, this research investigates the relationships between three important and yet neglected organizational knowledge sharing practices implications: employees' learning commitments, employees' adaptability, and employees' job satisfaction. …