Knowledge sharing at State Polytechnics in Indonesia

Author: Nurul Fitriani

Fitriani, Nurul, 2020 Knowledge sharing at State Polytechnics in Indonesia, Flinders University, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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Knowledge Management is crucial for organisations, including government institutions like State Polytechnics (SPs) in Indonesia, to allow them to face challenges, competition, and to improve performance. The key of KM itself is Knowledge Sharing (KS) which drives KM. Therefore, it is important to assure that KS takes place and develops in State Polytechnics in Indonesia in order to compete with other High Educational Institutions. It is important to recognize the strength and weakness of KS at SPs which can be utilised to improve KS.

There was no information, however, which showed how KS occured at SPs in Indonesia. Previous studies indicated in order for KS to happen, the inter-dependent relationship between motivations, nature of knowledge, and approaches to share knowledge was needed. Prior studies also demonstrated the influence of organisational factors on knowledge sharing. A great number of studies were even successfully showing culture as the most crucial influence. This study aimed at investigating these three elements mentioned earlier and the influence of organisational factors on KS at SPs in Indonesia. Therefore, this study conveyed a broad question, How does knowledge sharing occur at State Polytechnics in Indonesia with the first specific question: what knowledge is shared, what approach is used, and what organisational factors influenced the knowledge shared and the approach to share knowledge. The second specific research question was related to the motivations to share knowledge: what are the motivations to share knowledge and what organisational factors influence the motivation to share knowledge.

This study adopted a qualitative approach because this approach enables the researcher to better interpret the complexities and realities of given situations, enrich the understanding of the context and phenomenon under investigation, and because previous studies show that qualitative approach is the best approach to studying culture. Constructionism is the epistemological perspective in his study because constructionism provides the researcher the knowledge through the sharing of experience from participants which is co-constructed to represent the reality. The researcher used multiple case studies to help determine and assess the social life of participant experiences, roles, and motivations to share knowledge. The cross-case analysis is also conducted in order to find the similarities and differences on how the participants share knowledge.

Data were collected from Polytechnics on three islands with different subculture backgrounds in Indonesia (Kalimantan, Java, and Bali) using semi-structured interview technique. Document analysis was also used to support the data gained from the interview. The interviews were conducted with four groups of participants: Top Managers, Middle Managers, Lecturer-Unit participants, and Lecturer-Teaching participants. The data was analysed through within-case analysis, which explored the participants’ experiences and through cross-case analysis, to investigate the similarities and differences of the data from different groups and research sites.

This study revealed that not only knowledge sharing took place at SPs in Indonesia but knowledge transfer as well. What knowledge was shared depended on the motivations to share knowledge and the approaches used were dependant on what knowledge was shared. The motivations found in this study were rooted from reciprocity. The motivation was found as a crucial factor, but not the key for knowledge sharing. Motivation was seen as an initiator. The knowledge shared by participants was mainly related to their obligation as lecturers in Indonesia, responsibility as managers, and their expertise. The findings in this study also illustrated that the approach selected was a determinant factor. In an informal meeting, knowledge sharing mostly happened. In a formal sharing, however, without leaders’ stimuli, knowledge sharing did not happen. Knowledge transfer did. Culture was found as the most influential factor in this study. Subcultures provided differences on the form of informal gatherings (surface culture). Meanwhile, national culture described the participants norms, ways of thinking, and ways how they saw themselves in sharing knowledge.

Keywords: knowledge sharing, knowledge management, culture, local culture, Indonesia higher education, state polytechnic, motivation to share, health and religion in knowledge sharing, organisational factors, cultural dimensions, knowledge

Subject: Education thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2020
School: College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Supervisor: Michael Bell