Knowledge sharing, organizational learning, firm-level institutions and performance of top medium-sized companies in Kenya
This study was grounded on the view that organizations have hidden reservoirs of knowledge in terms of tacit and explicit knowledge. This study sought to make a contribution by focusing on how knowledge can be tapped to improve performance. Knowledge sharing, organizational learning and firm-level institutions were considered to offer an explanation for superior performance of top 100 medium-sized companies in Kenya. The main objective of this study was to determine the influence of organizational learning and firm-level institutions in the relationship between knowledge sharing and organizational performance. To achieve the objective, six hypotheses were formulated and tested to form the basis of conclusions that were drawn. The study was anchored on four theories: resource based theory, knowledge based theory, dynamic capabilities theory and institutional theory. A positivism paradigm guided the study while cross-sectional survey was adopted as the research design. The study population consisted of 100 medium-sized companies categorized as top performing medium-sized companies in Kenya by KPMG and Nation Media Group. Data was collected from 65 companies. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics, simple, multiple and hierarchical regression analysis. The study established that knowledge sharing had a positive and statistically significant effect on organizational performance. Firm-level institutions had significant direct and moderating effect on organizational performance. Conversely and contrary to expectation, the study established that organizational learning had neither direct nor mediating effect on organizational performance. The joint effect of the study variables on organizational performance was positive and statistically significant. The study has made a unique theoretical contribution by linking the theoretical views into an integrated framework. Further it supports the theoretical view of resource based theory that performance differences across firms can be attributed to the variance in firms’ resources and capabilities. Policy makers can utilize the findings of this study to formulate sound support strategies for medium enterprises. Additionally, Kenya’s Vision 2030, relies heavily on creative talents that can raise the country’s international competitiveness through encouraging flourishing of businesses. Knowledge sharing plays a vital role in boosting wealth creation, social welfare and international competitiveness contributing to realization of Vision 2030. The study has a major implication on managerial practice in that managers can relook at their firm-level institutions in terms of organizational structure, culture, technology, management style and human resources to enhance knowledge sharing for innovation and improved performance. A number of limitations were experienced, including access to information on financial performance as medium-sized companies are not required by law to publish their financial reports. Cross sectional research design adopted has the limitation of collecting data at a given point in time preventing investigation over a period of time. Future researchers can consider longitudinal research design to examine the impact of knowledge sharing and organizational learning on organizational performance over time and to establish causal relationships. The findings of this study revealed that organizational learning had no direct and mediating effect on the relationship between knowledge sharing and organizational performance. Future researchers may scrutinize the study findings in other settings by incorporating different industries, countries or time periods.