An investigation into the influence of trust on the sharing of practical knowledge in technology producing small to medium enterprises (smes).

Parkin, Neil (2020) An investigation into the influence of trust on the sharing of practical knowledge in technology producing small to medium enterprises (smes). Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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Abstract

This study that uses ethnographic research methods explores how trust influences the sharing of practical knowledge in technology producing SMEs. More specifically, this project investigates how trust behaviours influence the sharing of various types of tacit and explicit practical knowledge. Currently,
practice theory research recommends how practical knowledge can be shared however, efforts to share practical knowledge generally fail due to trust not been
developed adequately in the collaborative relationships formed by companies. This research aims to inform practice theory of how SMEs can develop collaborative relationships more effectively. To succeed, these companies are particularly dependent on collaborative working as a source for growth and competitive advantage.

This investigation uses a qualitative research methodology, which employs a multiple case study approach where semi-structured interviews have been conducted with six engineers, three of whom work in large companies and three in SMEs. Observations were also conducted for one case study. These participants work at various levels and the companies themselves are based in a variety of geographic locations across the UK.

Based on the use of a thematic analysis on the interview data it was possible to characterise a practical knowledge sharing culture. In addition, the research
outlines the specific perceptions and experiences of participants who adopted trust based strategies for sharing practical knowledge over the life of a project.

By applying a method devised in this research called narrative mapping, it was possible to identify patterns between trust behaviours and types of practical
knowledge shared from participants’ anecdotes. As the interviewees’ anecdotes relate to specific relationship phases over a project life cycle, the research was
able to build up a picture of how trust develops over the life stages of a project. The findings provide a novel way of helping SMEs to develop effective collaborative relationships and associated working practices and inform future trust and practice theory research.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Trust development, knowledge sharing, collaborative relationships, ethnographic case studies
Subjects: H900 Others in Engineering
N100 Business studies
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Mechanical and Construction Engineering
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2020 11:17
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2020 11:17
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/42255

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