Knowledge sharing in private social solidarity institutions during pandemics


  • Carmem Leal University of Tras-os-Montes and Alto Douro
  • Carla Marques University of Tras-os-Montes and Alto Douro
  • Pedro Gaspar University of Tras-os-Montes and Alto Douro
  • Ana Fermento University of Tras-os-Montes and Alto Douro



knowledge sharing practices, private social solidarity institutions, trust, informal sharing, social economy


The COVID-19 pandemic period resulted in a global crisis, whether in the economy, personal or professional life. Because of the pandemic, people and institutions had to change the way they did things.

Even though people are becoming more aware of the value of knowledge and it is becoming more common in some institutions, knowledge management methods are still not well known in the social sector and as a key tool for institutions in crisis.

Considering the beneficial role that knowledge sharing (KS) practices play in organizations, the current study aims to investigate the impact of KS practices in Portuguese private social solidarity institutions in adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic period. To achieve the purpose and considering the exploratory nature of the research, semi-structured interviews were conducted with fifteen professionals from four private social solidarity institutions in northern Portugal. Nvivo processed the interviews. Because COVID-19 is new, there is no research on knowledge sharing in these institutions, so the study can be considered as original.

Before and during pandemics, the presence of knowledge sharing practises, such as the integration of new employees, the proactivity of learning, the sharing of new ideas and mistakes, and the sharing relationship between peers and superiors and other institutions, was observed through the interviews. In this study, we discovered that trust, communication, technology, and social networks, as well as the role of leadership in creating an environment conducive to formal and informal sharing, were elements that facilitated knowledge sharing practises, even throughout the pandemics. During the interviews, both technical directors and employees acknowledged the following: the relationship between superiors and employees in decision-making processes; recognition, feedback and incentives from leaders and the presence of formal and informal communication networks. When it came to sharing, which could happen in a formal or informal setting, employees seemed to prefer informal interactions.

To summarise, the institutions were able to adjust to the limits imposed by the pandemic, and the basic practises of KS are part of the daily routine of the organisations analysed.