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Barriers to knowledge sharing in third sector social care: a case study.

Bloice, Lyndsay; Burnett, Simon


Lyndsay Bloice

Simon Burnett


Purpose - This paper aims to build on existing theory of knowledge sharing barriers (KSBs) by exploring the concept in the relatively under-researched context of social service not-for-profit organisations. Design/methodology/approach - In this study, case study methodology was used. Practitioner staff members took part in online questionnaires, followed by semi-structured interviews with line management and middle management staff. Secondary sources from the case study organisation were also used in the analysis. The analysis of questionnaire responses alongside responses from semi-structured interviews is compared with extant research into KSBs. Findings - The findings of this study highlight the need to re-examine the KSBs identified in the literature to reflect contexts beyond the private sector. Common barriers were identified, but some found in the case study organisation did not neatly fit into the existing definitions of KSBs. An updated list of KSBs to reflect this social service not-for-profit context is presented. Research limitations/implications - Case studies are often not generalisable; however, the KSB list developed here could be further explored and tested in other third sector organisations. Practical implications - The research raises the question of applicability of current knowledge management (KM) theory and lexicon in the third sector and social care environment. Originality/value - This study provides an insight into KM applicability in a third sector context, which is a relatively under-developed research area.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Feb 28, 2016
Journal Journal of knowledge management
Print ISSN 1367-3270
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 20
Issue 1
Pages 125-145
Institution Citation BLOICE, L. and BURNETT, S. 2016. Barriers to knowledge sharing in third sector social care: a case study. Journal of knowledge management [online], 20(1), pages 125-145. Available from:
Keywords Case studies; Barriers; Knowledge management; Knowledge sharing; Non-profit organisations; Third sector


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