Overcoming Knowledge Sharing Barriers Through Communities of Practice: Empirical Evidence from a Big Automotive Supplier

Managing knowledge for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of processes and for accelerating innovations is widely recognized as a major source of sustained competitive advantage. The growing importance of knowledge sharing has fostered the development of a growing body of research in different disciplinary areas and in different sectors. The analyses of the barriers that obstruct knowledge flows are paramount for improving organizational performance. The researcher has analyzed the literature on this argument and he has found that knowledge sharing barriers can be grouped into three main macro-dimensions: socio-psychological, technological and organizational. The author has analyzed the predicting power of the barriers that make knowledge sharing ineffective and the subsequent relationship with new product development performance in a big automotive R & D supplier. Raffaele Filieri adopts both qualitative and quantitative methods in an innovative way. The regression analysis and the analysis of a firms proprietary process were used to measure the strength of knowledge sharing barriers on knowledge sharing efficacy and new product development performance. The social network analysis was used to map the intra-firm knowledge sharing network and to identify and to solve organizational problems. Through social network analysis, the researcher has obtained a better understanding of the informal work in the organization, showing how effectively engineers and scientists work, and how they structured their knowledge sharing networks. The recognition of a hidden network of collaboration has several implications; one of these is the creation of a community of practice for solving the problems previously identified.