The Longitudinal Empirical Study of Organizational Socialization and Knowledge Sharing – From the Perspective of Job Embeddedness

Chunjiang Yang, Aobo Chen
Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge, and Management  •  Volume 15  •  2020  •  pp. 001-023

Based on the social exchange theory, this study aimed to explore the underlying mechanisms and boundary conditions between organizational socialization and knowledge sharing.

With the advent of the era of the knowledge economy, knowledge has been replacing traditional resources such as capital, labor, and land to become the critical resources of enterprises. The competitiveness of an organization depends much on the effectiveness of its knowledge management; the success of its knowledge management largely relies upon employees’ motivation and willingness to engage in knowledge sharing.

This study is a longitudinal analysis of data collected from 281 newcomers in Chinese enterprises at two-time points with a one-month interval. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was conducted to test hypotheses by calculating standardized path coefficients and their significance levels.

The study examined models linking organizational socialization and knowledge sharing that included organizational links and sacrifice as mediators and trust as a moderator.

Results show that the influences of organizational socialization on knowledge sharing change regularly over time. In the role management stage, coworker support and prospects for the future impact the practices of knowledge sharing through links and sacrifice. Moreover, the findings show that trust moderates the effect of links and sacrifice on employees’ knowledge sharing.

This study can help enterprises develop targeted human resource management strategies, improve the degree of job embeddedness within the organization, and thus encourage more knowledge sharing among employees.

First, researchers could pay attention to more underlying mechanisms and boundary conditions in the relationship between organizational socialization and knowledge sharing. Second, focusing on specific cultural context and dimension of concepts may provide a new insight for the future study and help add greater theoretical precision to knowledge sharing.

First, this study suggests that coworker support and prospects for the future improve knowledge sharing within the organization. Second, understanding how job embeddedness (organizational links and organizational sacrifice) acts as a mediator enhancing knowledge sharing, managers should consider raising their attachment relationship to organizations from two aspects: links and sacrifice. Third, knowledge sharing takes place in a team-oriented context, where the success of the team requires high-quality relationships among individual team members within the team as a whole.

Researchers in the future should employ experimental research design or utilize longitudinal data to ensure that the findings reveal causation. In addition, future research can investigate how the initial level and later changes of organizational socialization are associated with knowledge sharing beyond the observational scope of traditional cross-sectional and lagged research designs.

organizational socialization, job embeddedness, trust, knowledge sharing
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