Enablers and Barriers to Knowledge sharing in the UAE infrastructural projects
The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
The sharing of knowledge could be a catalyst for achieving organisational goals more quickly, or it could also be a means to a poor ending of a project. Recent researches have recognised the complications of knowledge sharing (KS) practices in projects due to their temporal nature and unaccountability of clients and beneficiaries in regard to projects. This thesis aims to examine how KS is successfully utilised to create successful projects in the infrastructure development sector. The research questions concentrate on addressing the integration of the KS process to improve project success within the infrastructure development sector of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The data was collected using questionnaire survey method to examine the integration of KS in infrastructural projects in the UAE. The literature review is used to extract enablers and barriers of success in KS in UAE infrastructural projects. The extracted enablers are categorised into seven groups (organisational, motivation, processes, technologies, social networking, physical environment, and individual), whereas the barriers are categorised into three groups (individuals, organisational, and technological). The data was collected through a survey from 112 valid respondents. The respondents were drawn from specific organisations within the infrastructural sectors of the UAE. Several statistical methods were used for the data analysis, including descriptive statistics, reliability analysis, ANOVA analysis, correlation, and regression. The research outcomes indicate that three enablers influence the level of KS contributions to project success: the ability of social networks to simplify personal relationships and social interactions to facilitate the project KS process (E24); the characteristics of the physical environments such as the shape of the office spaces or relaxed and quiet environment (E30); and loyalty and hard work to increase project success via KS (E35). The research findings also show that four enablers are important for the benefits of timely KS in infrastructural projects: leadership commitment to support open and honest two-way communication in projects (E5), measurements of knowledge sharing before and after any project activities (E8), implementation of less formal resources such as social media to share embedded project knowledge (E11), and the ability to communicate between project stakeholders regarding the project through specific channels (E13). In addition, the results support that two enablers were assessed as important for the quality of the timeliness of KS in infrastructural projects, the first of which is a clear policy or strategy for project knowledge sharing (E1), and the second refers to sufficient assets and resources to support project KS processes (E12). The results appear to show that respondents believed that two enablers are relevant to the effectiveness of KS between stakeholders at each stage of the projects lifecycle: sufficient reward systems to share knowledge (E4) and sufficient assets and resources to support project KS processes (E12). In the barriers clusters, the respondents agreed that a lack of trust for others regarding sharing project knowledge (B3) impacts KS contributions to project success. Only one barrier was deemed important for the effectiveness of KS between stakeholders at each stage of a project’s lifecycle: lack of a motivation policy for knowledge sharing (B12). The ANOVA analysis findings offer a variety of interrelationships between the identified enablers and barriers based on respondents’ work sectors. The study’s conclusions support the vision that there is a need for more organisational commitment (E3), further leadership commitment arrangements to support open and honest two-way communication (E5), a wider range of communication channels organisational commitment to support the uses of KS in the project lifecycle (E13). In order to facilitate KS inside of the project, there is a need for sufficient funding, facilities, and technological resources (E28). Furthermore, it is very necessary to take further measures in order to facilitate communication between different stakeholders and to ensure the establishment of a culture of motivated KS in projects. Moreover, it is obligatory to address external or macro-environmental factors (B15) in this regard to support the uses of KS in infrastructural projects in the UAE. This research focuses primarily on KS inside the unique context of project management (PM) in the UAE region, so the results presented herein may not be fully applicable or generalisable to other countries due to existent cultural differences. This research is considered to be one of the earliest studies which addresses the existing knowledge gaps by providing a roadmap to investigate KS practices and tools that can be successfully utilised in PM processes to promote underpinning knowledge within the UAE area. In addition, this study provides industry practitioners with better perceptions and an empirical framework of KS to utilise the lessons that have been learned from the mistakes of previous projects. This research can be further expanded in the future by applying social networking tools to analyse the interaction of knowledge flows among different stakeholders.
knowledge sharing, infrastructural projects, United Arab Emirates (UAE)