Changing in Organizational Structure

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Journal of Business Research 63 (2010) 763–771

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Journal of Business Research

Linking organizational culture, structure, strategy, and organizational effectiveness: Mediating role of knowledge management Wei Zheng a,⁎, Baiyin Yang b,1,2, Gary N. McLean c,3
a

Human Resource Development, Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education, Northern Illinois University, Gabel Hall 201E, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115, United States Department of Human Resources and Organizational Behavior, Tsinghua University, Mailing Address: Haidian District, Beijing, 100087 China c Department of Work and Human Resource Education, Texas A&M University, United States b

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a b s t r a c t
Practices of knowledge management are context-specific and they can influence organizational effectiveness. This study examines the possible mediating role of knowledge management in the relationship between organizational culture, structure, strategy, and organizational effectiveness. A survey was conducted of 301 organizations. The results suggest that knowledge management fully mediates the impact of organizational culture on organizational effectiveness, and partially mediates the impact of organizational structure and strategy on organizational effectiveness. The findings carry theoretical implications for knowledge management literature as they extend the scope of research on knowledge management from examining a set of independent management practices to examining a system-wide mechanism that connects internal resources and competitive advantage. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Article history: Received 1 February 2008 Received in revised form 1 March 2009 Accepted 1 June 2009 Keywords: Knowledge management Organizational culture Organizational structure Organizational strategy Organizational effectiveness

The internal characteristics of the organization make up critical sources for success (Barney, 1991). Increasing attention has been paid to identifying what characteristics are vital to organizational success and how they exert their influence on organizational outcomes. Internal organizational context focuses on broad and relatively stable categories of organizational characteristics such as structure, culture, and power and political characteristics (Pettigrew, 1979). They constitute an environment where organizational activities take place. There has been a large volume of studies that examine how the fit between organizational context and organizational strategy explains variances in organizational performance (Daft, 1995; Robbins, 1990). What is lacking in existing literature, though, is an understanding of the intervening mechanism that explains the paths of the influence from organizational context and strategy to organizational effectiveness. Knowledge management plays a potentially mediating role in connecting organizational context and strategy with organizational effectiveness. Successful knowledge management is believed to have the potential of enhancing an organization's competitive advantage, customer focus, employee relations and development, innovation, and

lower costs (Skyrme and Arnindon, 1997). In turn, knowledge management is context-specific, because context determines who participate and how they participate in the knowledge management process (Nonaka et al., 2000). Knowledge management could serve as one of the intervening mechanisms through which organizational context influences organizational effectiveness. However, the mediating role of knowledge management has not been adequately investigated. Exploration of its potential role as a mediating factor would provide better understanding of how to leverage it to achieve desirable organizational goals. This study sets out to do that. The purpose of this study is to examine the possible mediating effect of knowledge management on the relationship between organizational...
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