The perceived effect of trust as it relates to knowledge transfer between multigenerational employees

by Lorenz, Denise M., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2008, 180 pages; 3310910


The purpose of this study was to determine how perception of trust affected knowledge-sharing between individuals from different generations. Sharing of knowledge between workers in today's competitive marketplace is an essential ingredient to success. Assessing the factors associated with successful knowledge transfer helps organizational management to nurture an environment that encourages sharing. This study focused on how various levels of trust affect knowledge transfer behaviors such as communication and collaboration, motivation and willingness, and cooperation and respect. Trust was evaluated as interpersonal trust, trust in competence, and trust in the value of knowledge sharing. Descriptive statistics, such as Kruskal-Wallis, lambda, Somers' d, Kendall tau-b and tau-c, gamma, kappa, and Spearman's Correlation, were used to analyze the results of a quantitative instrument that surveyed two organizations using an Internet survey. Positive correlations were established between levels of trust and knowledge-sharing behaviors, rather than cause and effect. It was found that cultivating trust between all workers, regardless of generation, improved the behaviors associated with knowledge-sharing. Positive occurrences of behaviors were also met with high occurrences of trust. Trust in knowledge-sharing was deemed the only difference between the generations which directly impacts the outcome of sharing tasks. Cultivating a workplace where knowledge sharing is expected and revered is needed in our knowledge-based world. Creating opportunities between employees of all ages to share what they know and do not know with each other is a daily challenge for organizational management. With understanding of how trust and sharing behaviors interrelate comes responsibility of implementing positive changes that promote learning making both employees and employers integral to seeing this through.

AdviserJudith L. Forbes
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Organizational behavior
Publication Number3310910

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