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School of Business | Department of Management Studies | MSc program in Management and International Business | 2015
Thesis number: 14259
Intra-unit knowledge sharing within a multinational corporation: Perspectives from professional services experts
Author: Saramies, Jaana
Title: Intra-unit knowledge sharing within a multinational corporation: Perspectives from professional services experts
Year: 2015  Language: eng
Department: Department of Management Studies
Academic subject: MSc program in Management and International Business
Index terms: johtaminen; management; kansainväliset yhtiöt; international companies; yritysviestintä; business communication; tieto; knowledge; tietämyksenhallinta; knowledge management; palvelut; service; asiantuntijat; specialists
Pages: 162
Key terms: knowledge sharing; experiential knowledge; multinational corporation; professional services company; professional services; tiedon jakaminen; kokemuksellinen tieto; monikansallinen yritys; palveluyritys; ammattilaispalvelut
The objectives of this study are twofold. Firstly, the aim is to discover factors enabling and hindering intra-unit knowledge sharing, as perceived by managerial level employees. As pre-vious knowledge sharing literature focuses primarily on inter-unit context, this study extends this into an MNC intra-unit perspective. Secondly, this study examines the organizational benefits of knowledge sharing, namely improved performance and competitiveness. Further-more, both of these are investigated within the professional services industry, which relies heavily on the tacit knowledge of its experts. All in all, current literature lacks a comprehen-sive theoretical framework combining organizational and individual level factors influencing knowledge sharing, as well as its outcomes and organizational impact.

This research was conducted as a qualitative single case study due to complexity of the top-ic. The main research method was semi-structured interviews. The interviewees were eight (8) selected managerial level experts in the case unit. Other company materials, such as in-tranet and previous employee satisfaction surveys, were used as an initial starting point. The interviews offered needed depth and insight into the issue. Literature was reviewed after the interviews in order to grasp relevant issues. This method of first collecting data and only after initial analysis examining previous research findings is also called grounded theory. It suits well for studying social phenomena, such as knowledge sharing.

The research demonstrates that intra-unit knowledge sharing contains some similarities with inter-unit knowledge sharing, but also variances exist between the two. Enabling and hindering factors include both organizational (or unit) level as well as individual level issues. While it is beneficial to educate employees to identify certain individual level factors, such as attitudes and roles, it is more important to note that organizational methods can be utilized to influence both levels of factors. Special attention to these methods should be paid in the pro-fessional services industry due to its reliance on knowledge workers. For the outcomes of knowledge sharing, inefficient sharing practices were perceived by the interviewees to hinder individual accomplishment but also organizational performance. This perception is similar to literature, denoting that benefits of intra-unit knowledge sharing could be rather comparable to inter-unit benefits.
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