Knowledge Sharing Enablers and Barriers: Insights From a Socio-Environmental Project


  • Natalia Silverio Universidade Federal Santa Catarina
  • Gregorio Jean Varvakis Rados UFSC - Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina
  • Edilene Anjos Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina
  • Mariangela Poleza Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina



Knowledge Sharing, Enablers, Barriers, Socio-Environmental Project


Knowledge is recognized as an organizational asset in projects, as it reduces failures, improves competencies, and saves resources. Knowledge sharing (KS), specifically, brings value to projects. However, it is poorly investigated in project management literature, as generally previous works have focused on IT and civil construction projects. The literature has described some factors which foster or inhibit KS, nevertheless, there is little consensus about KS enablers and barriers in the project’s contexts. Therefore, this paper investigates KS enablers and barriers in a socio-environmental project. It adopted Action Research as the strategy of investigation. Observations and semi-structured interviews were used for data collection, as well as field notes. The thematic analysis method was used for data analysis. The results highlight the participants’ systemic thinking, which can explain why the feeling of dependence and perceived personal benefits were assumed as KS enablers. Also, the team's collaborative and empathetic behavior and the participants' openness to dialogue influenced positively the intention to share knowledge. The project’s horizontal organizational structure and the availability of virtual and physical spaces facilitated the knowledge flow. Most of the interviewees were professors which possibly influenced their KS behavior. The social restrictions imposed by COVID-19 were a KS barrier. In addition, the team size, lack of time,  and the multidisciplinary character of the project likely hindered KS. Surprisingly, the lack of previous social ties was not a significant KS barrier. In summary, our results confirmed previous results regarding KS enablers, and we found systemic thinking as a KS enabler. As a KS barrier, we highlighted the lack of time, suggesting it is common in projects due to their limited timeline. These findings add to the KS literature, mainly to analyze an organizational context that is unsatisfactorily investigated. Furthermore, this study helps managers to identify KS enablers and barriers aimed at adopting appropriate organizational interventions to increase KS. Moreover, this research has shown evidence from a multidisciplinary project from the socio-environmental field which needs to integrate several professionals' knowledge to provide substantial conclusions regarding the social, cultural, and natural aspects they were analyzing.