Knowledge sharing in manufacturing subsidiaries: proactive and reactive perspective in knowledge exploitation context


  • Aleksandra Rudawska University of Szczecin



proactive knowledge sharing, reactive knowledge sharing, job design, tenure, education, work experience


Employee knowledge-sharing behaviour is an important building block of effective knowledge flow in all organisations. Employees share their knowledge in response to a specific demand for knowledge (reactive knowledge-sharing behaviour) or entirely voluntarily, on their own initiative (proactive knowledge-sharing behaviour). Those two types of knowledge sharing although were recognised but are under-researched. The study aims to shed some light on the specificity of reactive and proactive knowledge-sharing behaviours in the knowledge exploitation context, looking at manufacturing-based entities and groups of knowledge-workers and blue-collar workers. Using survey-based data on a group of 799 employees, the study answers the questions regarding the dominance of reactive or proactive knowledge-sharing behaviours in manufacturing-based organisations and the influence of work specificity and individual knowledge on those behaviours. Based on ANOVA and t-test analyses, the main findings showed that regardless of the type of work performed, employees in manufacturing subsidiaries were more likely to share their knowledge with others when they were explicitly asked for it. This suggests that managers should create opportunities and incentives aimed not only at enhancing knowledge-sharing but also knowledge-seeking.The results also showed that work-related characteristics influence knowledge sharing. The type of work was related to reactive knowledge sharing of blue-collar workers, while the perceived need for creativity at work, and coordinating work of others were related to proactive knowledge-sharing of knowledge-workers. Also, the individual knowledge of the blue-collar employees was significant for both knowledge-sharing behaviours and the relationship had an inverted U shape.