Business & Management Studies

Evaluating the role of social capital, tacit knowledge sharing, knowledge quality and reciprocity in determining innovation capability of an organization

The research shows that both tacit knowledge sharing and the quality of knowledge are positively associated with innovation capability of an organization.


Anirban Ganguly, Professor & Vice-Dean, Jindal Global Business School, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India

Asim Talukdar, Professor, Jindal Global Business School, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.

Debdeep Chatterjee, PhD Candidate, John Molson School of Business, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada.


The present day business marked by intense competition requires firms to be more aware of their innovative capabilities. Effective sharing of knowledge or information can be deemed as a vital component in achieving this objective. Organizations that practice and nurture innovation activities can use the findings of the current study as a part of their knowledge management strategy. In addition to using the explicit knowledge, which are structured in nature, organizations can also start using tacit knowledge to harness their innovation potential – and the findings from the current study can act as a motivational tool for them to do so.

Although there is a growing body of literature concerning the role of knowledge management in innovation, there still a dearth in discussing the role of tacit knowledge sharing in exploiting the innovation capability of an organization.

The investigation for this research started with a review of extant literature in the field of knowledge sharing and innovation to derive a set of constructs. A set of hypotheses was developed based on the identified constructs, which was subsequently validated through a primary survey based on a structured questionnaire on a sample size of 190 respondents from the Indian industrial domain. The survey responses were subsequently analyzed using the statistical technique of structural equation modeling and conclusions were drawn from the findings. Additionally, careful attention was paid in eliminating the common method bias, which is often associated with a primary survey.

A set of six hypotheses were derived based on the identified constructs and were subsequently validated. While validating the hypotheses, it was observed that while knowledge reciprocity, relational social capital and cognitive social capital was positive associated with tacit knowledge sharing, structural social capital did not have a significant effect on the same. Additionally, it was also observed that both tacit knowledge sharing and the quality of knowledge were positively associated with innovation capability.

The main discussion of this paper brings together a set of important constructs that exhibits the significant role that tacit knowledge sharing plays in determining the innovation capability of an organization. Furthermore, it tries to marry the concepts of social capital and tacit knowledge sharing with innovation capability, therefore adding significantly to the body of literature in knowledge management as well as innovation.

Published in: Journal of Knowledge Management

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