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Jianguo Yao

DBA Graduate - 2019

Thesis title

An empirical study on knowledge sharing and technological innovation capability of software SMEs


Alberto Di Minin
Purpose This dissertation aims to develop insights into how knowledge sharing influences technological innovation capability (TIC) of the software SMEs (SSMEs), and provide theoretical basis and guidance for SSMEs to enhance TIC by promoting knowledge sharing. Design/methodology/approach Based on the theories regarding knowledge management, TIC, software engineering and open innovation as well as a review of previous studies and the findings of case studies, this dissertation constructed a research model comprising factors affecting knowledge sharing, knowledge sharing and TIC, and then tested the model quantitatively. The dissertation focuses on SSMEs in Mainland China. 457 valid questionnaires were collected online. Structural equation model was used to test the model and 12 hypotheses.Findings Knowledge sharing culture, organizational structure, middle-level leadership and management system have significantly positive effects on tacit knowledge sharing; management system and IT support have significantly positive effects on explicit knowledge sharing; both explicit knowledge sharing and tacit knowledge sharing have significantly positive effects on TIC; knowledge sharing culture, organizational structure and middle-level leadership have no significant effects on explicit knowledge sharing, and IT support has no significant effects on tacit knowledge sharing.Research limitations/implications The dissertation further enriches and deepens the research on knowledge sharing and TIC. However, it does not consider factors affecting knowledge sharing at the non-organizational level, or the interaction between explicit and tacit knowledge sharing. Moreover, only self-reported single-source cross-sectional data is collected, which has certain limitations. Such issues can be further discussed and improved in future studies.Practical implications 1) A SSMEs can promote explicit or tacit knowledge sharing by developing certain organizational factors, but to achieve efficient and high-level knowledge sharing, a variety of organizational factors should be taken into consideration; 2) a SSMEs can measure or evaluate its TIC by looking at its software engineering capability, software management capability and open innovation capability; 3) to promote TIC through knowledge sharing, a SSMEs should attach importance to both explicit and tacit knowledge sharing; and 4) a SSMEs can follow the 6 paths that are supported in this dissertation to improve organizational factors, promote knowledge sharing, and further enhance its TIC.Originality/value The dissertation examined the impact of knowledge sharing on TIC from the perspective of knowledge management after deconstructing knowledge sharing from the epistemological dimension and the TIC of software companies on the basis of software engineering theory. It provided a new theoretical perspective for the research of knowledge management and technological innovation management in SSMEs, and has a guiding role in management practice.Keywords SMEs, software company, factors affecting knowledge sharing, knowledge sharing, technological innovation capability (TIC)